This is a challenging time for everyone in the arts and heritage sectors, and as we develop our plans and for supporting venues and audiences in the coming months, VocalEyes is seeking three new Trustees to join our Board, led by our newly appointed Chair, Joanna Wood.
Our purpose is to bring arts and heritage to life for blind and visually impaired people through audio description, on theatre stages, at museums and heritage sites and online. We also support the sector to improve their access and inclusion, through training, research and advocacy. We also publicise accessible arts events, performances and venues through our website, social media and multi-format What’s On guides.
We’re a small organisation, but we are recognised as making a significant contribution to arts accessibility, with a strong track record of securing funds through from Arts Council England and major foundations such as Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation and the Mackintosh Foundation.
Founded in 1998, we have a turnover of around £600k each year. We’re run by a team of six, who manage a network of freelance describers and trainers working on projects each year at theatres, museums and heritage sites, helping to build cultural communities across the UK. You can read about our team, our services and our research, and learn about a range of other projects and activities through our news articles. You can also read our Annual Reports going back 10 years. And here are short biographies of our current Trustees.
As a Trustee, your main role will be to help plan and guide the strategic future of the charity and its work, be involved in advising and developing staff and make policy decisions. You will also ensure VocalEyes is accountable to its beneficiaries, to the Charity Commission and the public in general. There are four Board meetings each year. These will be held on Zoom and / or in Central London. There are additional occasional informal meetings, strategy or other workshops, and the CEO and Chair may also ask for additional advice and input based on your experience and skills.
We expect trustees to actively contribute in Board meetings. This includes:
- Preparation: reading Board and other papers which are sent out in advance and trying to resolve points of clarification before the meeting, wherever possible;
- Listening and Questioning: be willing to question and challenge, yet be supportive of other people’s views and contributions;
- Supporting decisions: support the decisions of the Board, even when you may not have agreed with the decision;
- Maintaining confidentiality;
- Agreeing to fulfil actions between meetings;
- Engaging with VocalEyes: developing a knowledge of the organisation to support the Chief Executive and other members of the team. Attend events that VocalEyes runs.
Skills and experience
Being a trustee should be rewarding, providing opportunities for personal development. You will bring your skills and energy to the role, but we also hope that you would gain new experience, knowledge and contacts. Effective trustee boards need a range of people with a good mix of skills. The best boards are also diverse in as many ways as possible, including representation by people who have a real understanding of the needs to be met and those with good financial, business and management experience.
We are currently particularly interested in applicants who have skills and experience in the theatre sector (senior management), museums and heritage sectors as well as education / training delivery, but we’re open to approaches from anyone who is passionate about supporting us and has relevant experience.
For more information about what being a charity trustee involves, please read the Charity Commission’s guidance.
Being a trustee is a voluntary unpaid role, although some expenses can be covered where appropriate.
Diversity and representation
VocalEyes welcomes applications from everyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, faith or disability. As people of colour and from a younger age group are currently under-represented on the Board, applications from those candidates would be particularly encouraged. We are also committed to maintaining representation on our Board of at least 50% of blind or visually impaired people.
All appointments will be made on merit, following a fair and transparent process. In line with the Equality Act 2010, however, the organisation may employ positive action where diverse candidates can demonstrate their ability to perform the role equally well.
How to apply
To apply please send a CV and covering letter of no more than two sides of A4 (both in Word, not PDF please) telling us a bit about yourself and why you would like to become a trustee at VocalEyes. Please send to Kathryn Havelock, Trustee.
Closing date for applications: Friday 26 March 2021
Informal interviews will be held with a panel of current Trustees.