Could you join Reset's Board of Trustees?

1 April 2021

Reset is recruiting 2 new trustees. In this blog, Reset’s Chair of trustees, Chris Clements, explains what Reset is looking for in a trustee and why now is an exciting time to join the Board.

Reset may be a small charity but it has a big vision: to scale the Community Sponsorship programme and develop other models of community-led welcome for newcomers to the UK. I find this mission fascinating, working from the ‘bottom up’ to support a genuine grassroots movement whilst also shaping the ‘top down’ policy and practice of government.  And all with a central focus – how to best help refugees to settle in this country.

As a trustee, I get to play a key role in supporting Reset to realise this vision. For me, this is a real privilege. It’s fascinating and rewarding work. As we go out to recruit for 2 new trustees, I wanted to spend a bit of time explaining what Reset’s Board does, why it’s worthwhile, and who we’re looking for. In particular, I'm writing this blog for those of you who are passionate about Community Sponsorship, but who might not have considered acting as a trustee before.

What makes Reset’s work interesting? And why now?

Community Sponsorship is a programme enabled by central government, but it’s powered by people. Reset sits at this intersection of civil society and government. Its work on Community Sponsorship ranges from delivering training and support to volunteers around the UK through to designing policy solutions to improve the overall functioning of the programme. I think it’s quite rare for a small charity to have such breadth in its day-to-day work – and certainly makes our board conversations diverse and interesting.

We’re at a particularly important time now: Reset is coming to the end of its 3rd year as a charity and is developing its voice and vision beyond its immediate goal of growing Community Sponsorship. For example, Reset recently partnered with Talent Beyond Boundaries to launch a pilot to test a new model of community-led welcome for displaced people arriving to work in the UK.

At the same time, Community Sponsorship is moving to a new phase as refugees resettled through the programme are now counted in addition to those resettled through Local Authority-led resettlement. There is a real opportunity here to welcome as many refugees as possible, but this is also a challenge as Reset must ensure that the programme is capable of scaling.

Immigration in the UK is also changing, and we’ve heard Community Sponsorship Groups’ concerns about measures in the asylum system proposed by the Home Secretary in the New Plan for Immigration. At Reset we must support the transformation of as many individual lives as possible through Community Sponsorship, whilst also amplifying the voices of Community Sponsors and the value they place in the lives of all those in need of protection.

At this important time we want to strengthen our trustee board, to ensure we have the right voices involved who can help guide Reset as it navigates these opportunities and challenges.

What do trustees do?

In any charity, trustees keep the organisation’s eyes focused on its mission. In our case, that means drawing on our own experiences – be that life experience or professional experience or both – to support the team at Reset to develop a strategy that can ensure sponsorship reaches its potential.

We’re also here to scrutinizing the day to day work, hold the team to account, and make sure that resources are used sensibly and effectively. To get a general overview of the role of trustees, check out this resource from the Charity Commission.

Practically speaking, we ask that trustees commit to attending around 4 Board meetings per year, plus an away day. At least 2 of these will be online.

You should note that trustees are not paid for their time, but reasonable expenses will be reimbursed, such as when trustees are required to travel for meetings.

Who are we looking for?

We believe that sponsorship can be transformative for both the refugees it supports and the communities who get involved. We are looking for reflective, thoughtful people who care about Community Sponsorship and want to help Reset to develop its work to scale Community Sponsorship.

It’s important to stress here that you do not need prior experience of acting as a trustee. We can provide support so that you’re prepared for the role.

We’re particularly interested in people who have experienced Community Sponsorship – either as a sponsor or as someone who was welcomed through the programme. During your Community Sponsorship journey, if you constantly found yourself imagining how you could improve the programme or asking why things were done in a certain way, then we want to hear from you!

Although we’re particularly interested in people with direct experience of Community Sponsorship, this is not a requirement of the role. Other types of experience could also make you a good candidate. For example, you might have professional experience of working with or in government, or you might have experience of working on volunteer-led projects.

We also need a diverse organisation to be effective. Our work requires us to bring together people with a broad range of skills and life experiences to ensure our impact with people who also come from a wide range of backgrounds. We actively encourage applications from under-represented and minoritised groups, including those with lived experience of refugee issues.

We're also keen to hear from applicants based in, or with experience of governmnet and statutory services in, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. As a national organisation, it's essential that our Board draws on perspectives from the devolved nations. 

How can you apply?

You can apply for the trustee vacancies onlineClosing date: 23:59 29th April

If you would like more information before applying, either myself or one of our Co-Directors, Dr Kate Brown and Dr Monika Kruesmann, would be happy to have a chat with you. You can call 020 7459 4507.  

Could you join Reset's Board of Trustees? is also published in Reset UK on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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