Chair of Trustees

 BlindAid is a Central London-based medium–sized charity which supports people with a visual impairment. It is a company limited by guarantee.

We are seeking a new Chair to take over from Keith Felton, who has been in the role since 2013, but has been a trustee since 1997. The aim is for the new Chair to join the board as a Trustee at the beginning of 2017 and take over mid-year, initially for a three-year term.

Background

BlindAid was formed some 180 years ago and continues in its core mission of improving the quality of life of people in Inner London with a visual impairment.  A detailed description of the charity’s activities may be found in the report of the Trustees in the 2015 Audited Financial Statements  – available on request.

The charity has annual income of c£575,000, and total funds of c£4.6m.  As a member of the Greater London Fund for the Blind, we receive annual allocations from this fund-raising vehicle, as well as grants from trusts, legacies and income from the charity’s investment portfolio.

We are in the fortunate position of having surplus reserves, which the Trustees have decided to deploy in the expansion of services for people with a visual impairment. As a result, BlindAid has been budgeting annual deficits each year.

This has allowed the charity to establish two new community projects, with two more planned, which provide a range of activities for those with sight loss to facilitate an improved quality of life and more independent living, whilst maintaining and expanding its core service of home visiting and welfare support.

As a result, in the future BlindAid will be looking to be more active in raising funds to support its activities to continue this momentum.

Board of Trustees and Governance

 The Board currently comprises nine Trustees, with a broad range of skills and experience, a number of whom have joined over the past 3-4 years. It meets four times a year in Central London from 4.00pm to 6.00pm.

The Chair is also a member of the Management Committee, which too meets four times a year, at the offices of the charity (currently in Bermondsey SE1).

In addition, the Chair is an ex officio member of the Nominations Committee and the Strategy Committee which meet on an ad hoc basis as required. The Board holds an away day every few years to review and discuss strategy.

 Staff

 Headed by the Chief Executive, BlindAid has 25 employees, largely comprising office-based staff and home visitors.

Future Plans

Over the past few years, the charity has made a number of positive changes, developing and expanding its services as noted above.  In addition, operational improvements achieved include updating the terms for its staff, documenting formal policies, outsourcing the accounting function, introducing technology to manage activity, and modernising the charity’s governing documents.

We expect there to be more changes in the next few years:

  • Further expansion of the charity’s services
  • Possible move to new premises to accommodate the expansion
  • Establishing a fund-raising capability
  • Exploring partnerships with other charities

Key Responsibilities of the Chair

  • Lead and direct the Board to enable them to fulfill their responsibilities for governance and strategic direction as effectively as possible
  • In conjunction with the Board, appoint, appraise, oversee, and constructively advise and guide the CEO (including regular meetings with the CEO)
  • Liaise regularly with the Treasurer and Vice Chairman (as the Management Committee) to monitor financial performance and oversee implementation of strategy on behalf of the Board
  • Act as ambassador for the charity at appropriate events, fora etc
  • Support the organisation’s fund raising efforts

Key Qualities of the Chair

 Essential

  • Understanding of responsibilities and duties of trusteeship
  • Empathy with BlindAid’s mission
  • Willingness to commit time to carry out responsibilities
  • Prior experience of committee/trustee work
  • Leadership and interpersonal skills (including tact and diplomacy)
  • Ability to foster a collaborative team environment

  Desirable

  • Experience of visual impairment
  • Wider involvement with voluntary sector
  • Ability to help charity’s fundraising efforts
  • Familiarity with financial management

Application Process

 If you have the requisite skills and are interested in taking on this role, we would love to hear from you. You would be joining a motivated board overseeing the charity at an exciting time.

In order for us to consider your application, please send a comprehensive CV, together with a letter setting out why you are the right person for the role.

These should be emailed to the Chief Executive, Sue O’Hara, at sohara@blindaid.org.uk

 A representative group of Trustees will interview short-listed candidates in Central London, prior to which they would have the opportunity for an informal discussion with the Chief Executive.

Annual Report and Accounts available at this location:

http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Showcharity/RegisterOfCharities/DocumentList.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=262119&SubsidiaryNumber=0&DocType=AccountList