Who we are
Established in 2008, Darjeeling Children’s Trust (DCT) is a thriving UK-based charity making a genuine difference to young lives in a fascinating part of the world. We believe that all children deserve access to a good education and a chance to achieve their potential.
We are seeking a Chair who is passionate and motivated, with values which align with our own, excellent leadership skills, and the time and commitment to help the charity continue to grow. You will be joining a friendly, dynamic Board of Trustees helping to change the lives of children and young people.
Since we were established in 2008 we have raised and spent over £1 million in Darjeeling; our current projects include sponsorship of children to attend good-quality schools, and of young people to access vocational training; careers support; the reconstruction of, and ongoing support for, a Children’s Home; and funding of health, welfare and extra-curricular activities to enhance the wellbeing and life experiences of children in Darjeeling. Our approach to supporting children and young people is based on need, and is agnostic of religion or ethnicity.
DCT has an experienced Board of Trustees, including a skilled Treasurer and individuals responsible for fundraising and overseeing delivery of projects in India. We have strong values of integrity, objectivity and inclusivity. We have a salaried administrative officer employed in the UK, and we fund the salary of a dedicated project manager and project assistant in Darjeeling who deliver our work on the ground.
· Provide egalitarian, consensus-based leadership to a diverse Board of Trustees, valuing its varied experience and making sure a broad range of perspectives can be heard.
· Lead the Board in setting the direction for future activity and growth, creating an inspiring vision which motivates Trustees and supporters and ensuring plans and structures are in place to deliver the vision.
· Build a cohesive and diverse Board of Trustees which has the appropriate balance of skills and experience to govern and lead the charity effectively.
· Produce DCT’s Annual Report, and ensure the accompanying Annual Accounts are delivered and approved, to comply with the requirements of the UK Charity Commission.
· Line manage DCT’s UK-based member of staff, ensuring their work is appropriately prioritised and supporting their personal development.
· In collaboration with the Trustee Board, lead quarterly meetings of the Trustee Board effectively and efficiently, including by overseeing timely and impartial decision-making in the best interests of DCT.
· Ensure that Trustees fulfil their duties and responsibilities for the effective governance of the Charity, including through compliance with UK Charity Commission policies and guidance.
· Ensure systems and processes are in place to allow the Board to assure and monitor delivery of projects in India, manage risks and opportunities, and oversee sound financial management.
· Provide line management to the UK-based administrative officer, by providing direction, supporting development and ensuring workload is appropriate.
· Act as a figurehead for DCT, and represent the charity at functions and events.
· Engage with supporters and donors to build support for the charity and grow DCT’s network.
· A strong and visible passion and commitment to DCT, its strategic objectives and cause; and a willingness to learn and develop an understanding of Darjeeling and its people.
· Inclusive and egalitarian leadership, which creates a culture in which collaboration is enabled, everyone feels motivated and inspired, and decisions are consensus-based.
· Experience of operating at a strategic leadership level within an organisation, and of setting and delivering a compelling strategic vision.
· The confidence and ability to build productive and credible relationships and networks with Trustees, employees, supporters and partners, both in the UK and in India.
· The ability to commit time to conduct the role well alongside other commitments, including by attending meetings and events.
· A willingness to develop an understanding of the requirements governing UK-based charities.
· The ability to oversee sound financial and risk management.
Experience of working in the third sector or chairing Boards, or direct knowledge of India and Darjeeling, is not essential. More important is your willingness to build a genuine personal connection with Darjeeling, and a commitment to playing a full role in the success of DCT through your skilled leadership. If the successful candidate has not visited Darjeeling previously, the Board would strongly encourage them to travel there within the first year of their appointment, for which expenses may be claimed.
This is an unpaid role, although expenses may be claimed. It is estimated that the requirements of the role are 3-5 hours per week. The role can be carried out from anywhere in the UK; outside India, we currently have trustees based in London, Bristol, Leicestershire, Yorkshire and Switzerland. Board meetings are held quarterly, and alternate between in-person and virtual. Any additional meetings are arranged as required, at mutually convenient times. Occasional travel within the UK is required to meet key stakeholders, attend fundraising events and to meet other Board members. Otherwise duties are flexible and can be carried out remotely at times to suit the post-holder.
The Board is seeking an individual who is able to make a commitment to this role for at least 3 years. As with all new Trustees, the successful candidate will serve an initial 6 month trial period to ensure both they and the Board of Trustees are content to proceed. A full handover will be provided from the incumbent Chair, including a transitional period of shadowing in the role, and ongoing mentoring will also be provided for as long as necessary.
The current Chair is very happy to discuss the role in more detail with anyone considering making an application.
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