Chair of the Board of Trustees
Chelmsford  •  Closing date for applications 21st August

The Charity

The Wilderness Foundation UK is the charity that helps people to connect with nature and wilderness in order to provide the full range of wellbeing benefits that it can offer. We work in particular with young people from at risk groups, supporting them through intensive therapy sessions and wilderness trails and expeditions.

This is an exciting time for the charity as we seek to strengthen our existing activities and take advantage of a six-month (pro-bono) external analysis and report on the charity done by Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

As with all charities, we are facing a changing external environment, including Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, and increasing public distrust of charities. We need a skilled strategist to work with the Chief Executive Officer to ensure that our offer and operation are fit for the external environment.

The Wilderness Foundation is connected to an international network is through an umbrella organisation called Wilderness Foundation Global. This is made up of the original sister organisations all founded by Dr Ian Player DMS.

The Wilderness Leadership School and Wilderness Foundation Africa, the Wild Foundation (USA) and ourselves form Global. The charity is registered in South Africa and face to face meetings have been held annually made up of the Chair and CEO. The four chairs are the Board with the CEOs forming the operational team. Currently the Chair of Global is Andrew Muir who is CEO of the Wilderness Foundation Africa, and the Chairman of Global is Joel Holtrop who is Chairman of Wild Foundation.

The Role of Chair

Purpose

The Chair should lead the work of the Board of Trustees in ensuring the Charity’s strategy, operations and finances are fit for purpose, meet legal requirements and deliver against the Charity’s objects as effectively as possible. The Chair will need to build a close relationship with the Chief Executive, other Trustees, and be a confident external figurehead for the Charity.

The Chair will need to develop a sound understanding of the Charity’s work and projects. They should attend and support committees of the Board in their work, including the Finance Committee, the Governance Committee and any other committees that may be established.

Previous experience as a Trustee, and a good understanding of finances, charity governance and the charitable sector are strongly desirable. Knowledge of the youth engagement sector or environmental conservation are desired as well.

The charity’s offices are located near to Chelmsford, Essex. Proximity to Chelmsford or ability to regularly travel there, will be essential, as well as proficiency with online conference call technologies such as Zoom.

Responsibilities

The Chair is responsible for:

  • Planning and running Board of Trustee meetings.
  • Ensuring that meetings are run efficiently and properly, and recorded.
  • Ensuring that Trustees comply with their charitable duties and that the charity is well governed.
  • A casting vote on any issue where a vote is tied.
  • Managing the CEO on behalf of the Trustees.
  • Works with the other Trustees to support the CEO and staff in ensuring that the charity is delivering its charitable objects, meeting with legal duties, and assessing the financial health of the charity.
  • Respecting the work of the CEO, management and staff and only deals with matters relevant to the Board.
  • Working with the Governance Committee to ensure that the Board has the right range of skills, knowledge and experience to serve the charity’s purpose.
  • Building strong internal relationships but also be confident, when required, acting as an external figurehead for the Charity.
  • Working with the Governance Committee to ensure open and fair processes for recruiting new Trustees and ensuring succession on the Board in a timely manner in line with the charity’s governing documents.
  • Working with the Finance Committee to ensure that the charity’s finances are in good health and that policies are in place and implemented to deal with any downturn or shortfall in those finances.

Skills and Qualifications

We are seeking a candidate who has the following skills and qualifications:

  • Strong leadership ability, including being able to lead the work of a team of people.
  • Relationship-building skills and the ability to work as part of a team, including being able to build trust with key stakeholders, such as the CEO.
  • Tact and diplomacy, including negotiating difficult discussions or issues and working through differences of opinion.
  • Strong communications skills.
  • Experience of chairing meetings.
  • A sound understanding of finances.
  • Experience as a charity Trustee or employee, including knowledge of charity governance procedures and policies.
  • Confidence being an external figurehead for the charity if needed.
  • The ability to work efficiently and to a timely manner when following up on actions and tasks.
  • Knowledge of youth engagement, youth work, or nature conservation.

Time Commitment

The role of Chair of the Board will require someone with the time to attend Board meetings four times per year (which are often held during working hours on a weekday), attend Committee meetings and to invest time in understanding the charity, getting to know Trustees and staff, and in 1-1 support of the Chief Executive Officer. This is a significant time commitment and should not be underestimated.

Term

In accordance with changes we are making to the Charity’s Memorandums and Articles of Association, all new Trustees (including Chair of the Board) will serve an initial period of four years, with the possibility of a subsequent two year term, and then a third term of two years. No Trustee may serve more than eight years in total.

Application Process

Candidates who are interested in applying to the role should send a cover letter and CV to info@wildernessfoundation.org.uk

We encourage applications from candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds.

The closing date for applications is 21 August 2020. Interviews for the role will be held during the week commencing 7 September.

The expected start date for the role is 1 October but there is flexibility around the current Chair being willing to stay on until appointment is made and start times agreed.