DORSET Community Foundation wants to ‘break the mould’ and add younger and more diverse members to its board of trustees.
The 22-year-old foundation, which awarded more than £1.2 million in grants to groups and individuals across the county last year, is looking for people with lived experience of working with grass roots charities and voluntary groups, or being helped by them, to bring a greater appreciation of what they need.
“We have a brilliant board who work really hard for the foundation but we are looking to add to its experience and knowledge with a different type of trustee to what people might expect to see around a boardroom table,” said chair Tom Flood.
“We want to break the mould with our recruitment and we’d like to see younger people applying, as well as applicants from some of the communities we fund because we’d like to benefit from the experience of people who have an understanding of the problems those communities face.”
He said that community groups emerging from two years of the pandemic, and now facing the challenges of the cost of living crisis, which is raising demand for their services, are in greater need of support than ever before.
“That’s why we are looking for individuals who are energetic, committed and can demonstrate active engagement in their local communities and have a deep understanding of local issues and solutions,” he said.
To encourage younger applicants the foundation hopes to set up a shadowing scheme, where young people who don’t feel they yet have the experience to take on a trustee’s role can shadow an existing board member to get an insight into how it works while still having an input into the running of the organisation.
That’s why we are looking for individuals who are energetic, committed and can demonstrate active engagement in their local communities and have a deep understanding of local issues and solutions
Mr Flood accepts that younger applicants might have less time to devote because they are working.
“For many individuals in employment much depends on the attitude of their employer to time off for meetings . This should really be part of the employer’s corporate social responsibility, after all in the public service individuals are entitled to three days annually for volunteering,” he said.
The community foundation, one of 47 across the country, works with individual private donors, trusts and public bodies to connect the with the hundreds of small community groups working across the county. Since 2000 it has helped donors give more than £10 million to groups and individuals.
Trustees are responsible for guiding the community foundation by setting its strategy, ensuring it complies with charity and financial rules, making sure it is financially secure and promoting its growth.
Mr Flood added: “Above all they need to be passionate about Dorset and supporting the work of the voluntary sector. They need to be willing to speak their mind, think creatively, have good independent judgement but be able to work as part of a team
The board meets four times a year, though trustees are expected to sit on at least one of its sub-committees, which meet four or five times a year. Members can serve a maximum of two terms of three years.
Find out more about the role and how to apply here, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01202 670815.
Pictured: Dorset Community Foundation chair Tom Flood with Olympic swimmer Jacob Peters and his girlfriend Charlotte Prince-Rayner at an event to mark the foundation’s 21st birthday