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Volunteering

Trustee Chair for Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (CARAS)

Location: SW London

Date Posted: 23/04/2019

Closing Date: 12/05/2019

Job Description

Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (CARAS)

The Organisation: CARAS is a charity in south west London, working together with people of refugee background to provide practical, educational and social help. We create supportive relationships, networks and spaces that enable people to access what they need in order to increase their wellbeing and safety. Our team of staff and volunteers run a large range of activities and services which offer a place of welcome to refugees and asylum seekers, working with them to recognise skills and develop potential.

CARAS has become one of the largest providers of support for refugees in south London, working with some of the largest numbers of unaccompanied and separated children in the UK. We have responded to changes in demographics and are proud of our ability to remain agile.

Our Mission: To work together with asylum seekers and people of refugee background to provide practical, educational and social help. We create supportive relationships, networks and well informed services that enable people to access what they need in order to increase their wellbeing and safety

Our Vision: All who have sought refuge in the UK are welcomed, valued and supported within a community in which they can flourish.

Our overall goal for 2019-2021: Create a space that is welcoming and safe for asylum seekers and refugees, providing pathways for integration into the larger communities around us.  All activities will embody the key areas of social connection and friendship, confidence building, English language, opportunities for community integration and access to advice.

What’s in it for you?  You will be part of an amazing team dedicated to empowering service users to take control of their lives. This is an exciting time for CARAS. The charity has grown considerably over the past 3 years. We currently employ 4 full-time and 5 part-time staff and are supported by a team of over 100 volunteers.  CARAS currently works with approximately 450 beneficiaries per year, 80% of whom are separated children. We have a wide range of expertise on our staff team including specialisms in refugee education, social work, advice work, volunteer support, facilitation, community development and women’s gender-related work.

Main purpose of the role

Our current Chair is relocating so needs to step down from the role. We are seeking their successor.

Your Overarching Responsibilities as a Trustee

The CARAS Board of Trustees is led by a Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. Their work is supported by the other trustees, who collectively and individually ensure that strategic decisions are made in the best interests of the organisation and its beneficiaries.

As a charity trustee for CARAS, you will have 6 main duties which you are responsible for alongside your fellow board of trustees. You are both individually and collectively responsible to:

• Ensure the charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit

• Comply with the charity’s governing document and the law

• Act in the charity’s best interests at all times

• Ensure the charity is accountable

• Manage the charity’s resources responsibly

• Act with reasonable care and skill

Trustees steer the organisation to ensure that activities are working toward the vision and mission of the charity. Our current trustees come from a range of backgrounds and are dedicated to CARAS’ mission of bettering the lives of refugees and asylum seekers. We actively encourage applications from people who have an insight into the needs of our local community and the people we work with, or are themselves members of those groups.

Role of the Chair

In addition to the general responsibilities of a trustee, duties of the Chair include:

  • Providing strategic and visionary leadership to the Board
  • Bringing focus, impartiality and objectivity to decision-making
  • Chairing and facilitating board meetings
  • Giving direction to board policy-making
  • Checking that decisions taken at meetings are implemented
  • Representing the organisation at functions and meetings,

(as agreed in advance with the Managing Director)

With the Managing Director (MD):

  • Planning the annual cycle of board meetings and AGM
  • Setting agendas for board and other general meetings
  • Leading the development of the board of trustees

(including induction, training, appraisal and succession planning)

  • Addressing any conflict within the board
  • Liaising with the MD to keep an overview of the organisation’s affairs and to provide support
  • Leading the support and appraising the performance of the MD

Qualities

  • Leadership and negotiation skills
  • A strong and visible passion and commitment to the charity and its goals
  • Strong communication and inter-personal skills
  • Confidence as an ambassador for CARAS
  • Tact and diplomacy, with the ability to listen and respect diverse views
  • Evidence of strategic thinking and critical insight
  • Ability to foster and promote a collaborative team environment
  • An understanding of the needs and aspirations of refugees and asylum seekers

Experience

  • Experience of governance, compliance and strategic decision-making
  • Strong personal experience, either paid or unpaid, of the community or charity sector

Commitment

  • Attend and chair quarterly board meetings, any general meetings and AGM as agreed
  • Available to support the MD in the planning and follow through of board meeting decisions
  • All trustees will serve a three-year term. They are eligible for re-appointment for additional terms as laid out in our governing document.
  • All trustees agree to clear terms of service.
  • All trustees agree to a DBS check.

__________________________________________________________________________

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