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LIVED EXPERIENCE TRUSTEES PROGRAMME

We value lived expertise 

Beyond Suffrage has partnered with Women in Prison (WIP), Clean Break, Working Chance and Hibiscus to co-design and develop a trustee training programme for women with lived experience of the prison system. A group of fifteen women will be selected to take part in the programme, with at least half of the participants being from Black, Asian and minoritised communities. This will help to ensure that we are engaging with women with lived experience from all backgrounds.

 

We are very excited to announce that applications are now open (with a closing deadline of 5pm, Thursday 22 April 2021). As a participant on this programme, you will have an opportunity to learn more about Charity Governance and Finance i.e. how charities are run and how they obtain and manage their money.  The programme will also help you to develop the confidence and skills necessary to step into a trustee leadership position. You will have the opportunity to learn from a range of women from different backgrounds who currently serve as trustees on charity boards. 

 

During the training programme, which will run for 6-weeks, we will also support you with finding a trustee role. You will either join the board of one of the partners (Women in Prison , Clean Break, Working Chance and Hibiscus), or the board of another charity working in the criminal justice charity sector. 

You can apply to take part in the programme by clicking Apply now and completing a short application form (we accept both written or video applications). Please do not hesitate to apply, we would like to hear from as many women as possible. Please also take some time to read through the frequently asked questions below before submitting your application.

What is a charity trustee? 

Trustees are a group of individuals who are responsible for controlling and managing how a charity is run. As a trustee, your responsibilities (working together as a team with the other trustees) will typically include making sure that:

  • your charity's activities benefit a wide section of the public 

  • your charity carries out the activities that it is set up to achieve 

  • your charity complies with the law

  • your charity manages it's money well

  • your charity acts in the best interests of current and future beneficiaries

As a team of trustees, you will also help to set long term goals and plans for the charity.

Charity boards typically have board meetings 6 to 8 times a year. Some smaller charity boards might meet more often i.e. once a month.

Why should you consider being a trustee?

Charity boards benefit greatly when many different voices are taken into account, including the important voices of individuals with lived experience. As a woman with lived experience of the prison system, you may have thoughts and opinions on activities and strategy, which when shared can help to improve the support provided by charities to women currently in prison or who have been to prison. You will not be expected to be the voice of all women with lived experience, or to share your personal account. 

Being a trustee can also help you to gain experience, develop your network and build transferable skills such as team working, leadership, problem solving and decision making. 

What support will you receive?

During the 6-week programme you will be provided with group training and support, to help ensure that you understand the responsibilities of a trustee before joining a board.  You will also be offered tools to help you break down barriers, in a safe and supportive environment. Once you join a charity board, you will receive a full induction to the charity and will be offered a 'board buddy' to help ensure that you settle in well in your role.

Trustees are volunteers and are not paid for their time. However, your charity will pay for your travel fare to board meetings. Some charities also pay for childcare costs whilst you are attending board meetings. Additionally, as part of your trustee development you will be able to sign up for courses which directly help to improve your participation in board meetings. 

Who can apply to be a trustee?

We welcome applications from all women with lived experience of the prison system regardless of their age, experience, disability, ethnicity, heritage, sexuality and socio-economic background.

What are the main barriers?

It is more challenging to become a trustee if you have unspent criminal convictions.

 

Individuals are automatically disqualified by the Charity Commission from serving as trustees if they:

 

  • have an unspent conviction for: deception and dishonesty (theft and some fraud offences); particular money laundering related offences; particular bribery related offences; disobeying a Charity Commission order or direction; misconduct in public office, perjury & perverting the course of justice; particular terrorism related offences; and, attempting, aiding or abetting these offences.

  • are on the sex offenders register.

Individuals are also disqualified if they:

 

  • are currently declared bankrupt or are subject to bankruptcy restrictions

  • are subject to a debt relief order

  • are disqualified from being a company director

  • have previously been removed as a trustee, or as an officer, agent or employee of a charity by either the Charity Commission or the High Court due to misconduct or mismanagement

  • have been found to be in contempt of court for making, or causing to be made, a false statement

  • are a designated person under particular anti-terrorist legislation

Although it is very challenging to become a trustee if you are disqualified, it is not impossible, as an exemption can be applied for.

What is the application process?

You can apply to take part in the training programme by submitting a short application form (either in writing or video).

If your application is unsuccessful, you will be notified by the Social Practice ENT team. If your application is successful, you will be invited to an interview, where you will have the opportunity to share more about yourself and hear further information about the programme and trusteeship in general. Feedback will be provided to all unsuccessful interviewees.

Ready to apply? Please click the link below.

When will the training programme start and end ?

The programme is part time and is designed to easily be fitted around full-time education, full-time employment or other caring responsibilities. The sessions are delivered on Thursday evenings over a period of six weeks (starting on Thursday 13 May 2021).

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the programme will be delivered online via Zoom.