New Vacancy - Board of Trustees Member

(11 February 2021 5:05 pm)

Warwickshire Vision Support is the primary provider of services for people living with sight loss in Warwickshire. For 108 years, as a local charity for local people, we have aimed to improve the quality of life of visually impaired people in Warwickshire.  We help people come to terms with visual loss and provide accessible advice, information and support services.  These services enable visually impaired people to have more choice, greater independence and healthier lifestyles.

What will you be doing?
Our Board of Trustee/Directors has ultimate responsibility for directing the affairs of the organisation and ensuring that we remain solvent, well-run and meet the needs of our Service Users.  We currently have 11 trustees of whom 6 are visually impaired.  We are fully committed to include visually impaired people in all levels of the organisation and critically at the board level.  We are equally committed to encouraging board and staff diversity in order to serve our communities better.
You would be joining us at an exciting time when there is opportunity to contribute expertise and skills to a number of new initiatives. We have recently completed a strategic review and are in the process of implementing new service recommendations. And we have recently received a substantial legacy gift which will provide the charity with long term financial stability and an opportunity to finance our new plans.

The Board has a subcommittee structure where recommendations are made to the full Board for ratification before implementation.  Currently Board meetings are held on five Thursdays per annum between 4pm and 6pm.  Subcommittees meet between Board meetings, sometimes face to face and other times by telecom or video links. 

The Board have diverse backgrounds and represent different areas of Warwickshire. A mixture of professional skills is required on the Board.  We also have external advisors for specialist advice. You would be asked to join a subcommittee and liaise with the staff and other Board members.  Our current chair joined the board in 2018.

There are about 14 salaried staff under the leadership of our CEO.  The staff is comprised of professional rehabilitation workers, community workers, fundraisers and marketing/communications staff.

What are we looking for?

We are keen to recruit trustees who have the following competencies:
•    Strong critical and strategic thinking
•    A proactive nature, able to identify opportunities for the charity and spot potential risks or challenges
•    Willingness to devote the necessary time and effort to the trustee duties
•    Enthusiasm for learning about the charity and its management

Additional skills and experience would be:
•    Professional expertise in legal, social care, HR or communications (PR and Social media) 
•    Experience as a volunteer in the social care sector
•    Leadership in the voluntary sector
•    Personal sight loss
•    Acquaintance with persons suffering sight loss
•    Understanding of the digital world which will make such a difference to our community.
What difference will you make?
To achieve our mission, we offer a wide range of services.  As a trustee, you will be providing direction and support to continue to shape these services:  
•    Teaching new skills to improve mobility in the community and safety in the home through our Rehabilitation Service 
•    Providing access to advice, information and guidance through our four weekly Vision Support Centres and accompanying pop-up support centres serving the more remote towns in Warwickshire (although much of this is done remotely at the moment)
•    Giving information and support to people at the point of diagnosis through our Eye Clinic Advice Desks across the county 
•    Reducing isolation through our Home Visitor Service and phone Befriending Service to give help with reading and social support 
•    Promoting social networks through our 14 social clubs 
•    Promoting social inclusion and empowerment through IT Training and Advocacy. 

What's in it for the volunteer?
Volunteers who have previously served as Board members or school governors will be familiar with the type of work.  Other volunteers who are used to strategic planning will find it intellectually stimulating and educational.  We are a friendly team and have good relationships with the staff.  Undoubtedly individual Trustee/Directors make a big difference to the organisation.  Learning how people with sight loss cope is hugely interesting and rewarding.  Training will be given in all aspects of the role.

A few more details

Our Chair, Liz Thiebe would be pleased to have an informal phone conversation with you to start the ball rolling.  We offer all potential trustees an interview with several board members, and the opportunity to observe board meetings before being co-opted onto the board.  This is a good way to see if the fit is right.  
We are a member organisation and one third of Board members stand for re-election each year.  Board members along with staff and most volunteers are DBS Checked. These are voluntary roles but reasonable expenses will be paid.

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