1. Wonderseekers

Chair of Trustees

Winchester, Hampshire

Wonderseekers, the Charity behind Winchester Science Centre, are on the search for a new Chair of Trustees who believes in our mission and values, can lead our Board and support our senior management team to deliver upon our strategy.

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Who we are

Wonderseekers, the Charity behind Winchester Science Centre, has been sparking children’s curiosity in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) since it was founded in 1986.

We believe that through science, children can choose to live healthier, more sustainable lives and contribute to a better world for all.

The role

Introduction from Toby King, Chair of Trustees

Welcome and thank you for your interest in joining Wonderseekers.

We are on a clear and important mission, to create a more equitable world – one where all children can treasure science, are equipped and empowered to improve lives, to protect and heal our planet.

Our work to date has increased our awareness of the massive inequality that exists in science engagement and has also demonstrated the important difference our Charity can make. We are determined to do more.

Our new strategy, For People and Planet 2030, demonstrates our ambition to build on our heritage, to develop our experience in equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), continue our focus on all disciplines of science and take forward an environmental agenda in response to the global climate and biodiversity crises.

We are 100% committed to delivering on our mission so that all children, irrespective of any barrier, can play their part and use science in their everyday lives for the benefit of all.

This is an exciting time to join Wonderseekers. Over the past year we have focused on long-term impact, publishing the new strategy and defining our values to guide our work.

In October 2022, to support our new strategy, diversify our reach and grow impact, we changed our name from Winchester Science Centre to Wonderseekers and developed a new online presence for our Charity. For the first time, we have an independent voice, and we’re keen to develop it further. Whilst we seek to expand and diversify, we also recognise the important role Winchester Science Centre continues to have as a thriving hub for science engagement within the South of England and its central role in achieving impact within the Wonderseekers family.

Could you help shape and steer the future of our work?

After 6 thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding years in the role, I have taken the decision that it’s time for me to step back and hand over to someone else with new ideas, energy and vision.

We are therefore now looking to recruit a new Chair of Trustees, who believes in our mission and values, who can lead our Board and support our CEO and Senior Management Team to deliver upon our strategy.

The Board is committed to ensuring that EDI is represented at the highest level of the organisation and encourages anyone interested in the role to apply, irrespective of background.

The role of Chair of Trustees is unique and rewarding. You will play a key role in facilitating the Charity’s ambition, to deliver on mission, oversee our strategic vision, influence future projects and help manage risk. The Board brings together diverse skills and experience. Your effective leadership will build on the Board’s strengths. You will find the Board and Senior Management Team a friendly and supportive group, always willing to listen and help.

There are many benefits to volunteering. I personally have found the experience with Wonderseekers incredibly fulfilling and fun, as well as learning a huge amount, so I would urge you to apply.

If you are interested in the role, please do arrange an informal and friendly chat with either me, Sara Sullivan, our deputy chair, or Ben Ward, CEO. You can arrange this by contacting Carol Smith [email protected].

We look forward to talking to you more about the role.

Best wishes,

Toby King

About the Charity

Wonderseekers, the Charity behind Winchester Science Centre, has been sparking children’s curiosity in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) since it was founded in 1986.

We believe that through science, children can choose to live healthier, more sustainable lives and contribute to a better world for all.

They can:

  • discover the wonder of science and make sense of the world around them and their place within it,
  • use science methodology as a framework for critical thinking and problem solving,
  • develop their self-confidence and resilience through practical experience and experimentation.

However, inequality of access to science for young children means that many miss out.

Our new strategy demonstrates our ambition to build on our Charity’s long heritage, develop our experience in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, continue our focus on all disciplines of science and take on an environmental agenda in response to climate change.

We remove social, cultural and intellectual barriers so that all children can be inspired by and engage in science, with a particular focus on children whose lives are impacted by disability or impairment and social and economic deprivation.

We specialise in communicating science to children through ‘WOW!’ experiences that are fun, inclusive, immersive, interactive and accessible. We reach out to children in innovative ways through our Science Centre, in schools, communities and online, and love to work collaboratively with children, industry and academic partners, charities and individuals to have the greatest impact.

Find out more about our Charity’s strategy, governance and achievements over the past year by downloading our latest annual report.

Read our Strategy 2030: For people and planet.

Overview of Chair of Trustees role

The Board is responsible for the financial viability of Wonderseekers, agreeing the budget and the risk register and monitoring performance against them. The Board is also responsible for ensuring that the Charity has a well-developed strategy, with clear goals that are in line with the objectives detailed in the Articles. The Chair is responsible for leading the governance of the Charity and ensuring that the Board conducts its business effectively. The Chair is also responsible for ensuring that the Board provides strong, thoughtful and supportive challenge to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and to other senior post-holders, who are members of the Senior Management Team.

The Chair is the senior representative of Wonderseekers at external events; championing its values, mission and its strategy to a wide range of stakeholders, locally and nationally. In addition, the Chair should develop a strong profile internally, demonstrating an understanding of and commitment to the values of the Charity, supporting staff as necessary.

Role Description

In addition to the general and legal responsibilities of a trustee, duties of the Chair include the following.

  • Providing leadership to the organisation and the board by ensuring that everyone remains focused on the delivery of the organisation’s charitable purposes in order to provide greater public benefit
  • supporting and supervising the chief executive and acting as a channel of communication between board and staff
  • acting as a figurehead for the charity (for example, representing it at functions, meetings or in the press), and acting as a spokesperson as appropriate
  • leading on the development of the board and making sure that its decisions are carried out. This includes induction, training, appraisal and succession planning
  • taking urgent action (but not decision-making unless authorised) between board meetings when it isn’t possible or practical to hold a meeting.
  • Chairing and facilitating board meetings
  • Giving direction to board policy-making
  • Checking that decisions taken at meetings are implemented
  • Representing the organisation at functions and meetings
  • Bringing impartiality and objectivity to decision-making
  • Planning the annual cycle of board meetings and other general meetings where required
  • Setting agendas for board and other general meetings
  • Addressing conflict within the board and within the organisation, and liaising with the chief executive (if staff are employed) to achieve this
  • Liaising with the chief executive to keep an overview of the organisation’s affairs and to provide support as appropriate
  • Leading the process of supporting and appraising the performance of the chief executive
  • Sitting on appointment and disciplinary panels
  • The Deputy-chair acts for the chair when the chair is not available and undertakes assignments at the request of the chair
  • Manage the CEO, including setting objectives, appraising performance and setting remuneration through the remuneration committee
  • Provide advice and good counsel to the CEO and other senior post-holders to support them in the carrying out their duties
  • Ensure that Wonderseekers operates within the legal framework provided by its Memorandum and Articles of Association and within regulations laid down by the Charites Commission.
  • Act in accordance with delegated authority granted by the Board

What we’re looking for:

It is essential that our Chair should have the following qualities:

  • Outstanding and proven leadership skills
  • Experience of Chairing
  • Impartiality, fairness and the ability to respect confidences.
  • Strategic and forward looking vision in relation to the Charity’s objects and aims
  • Clear understanding of the role of non-executive directors
  • A willingness to devote the necessary time and effort to their duties as Chair
  • A clear understanding of effective governance processes
  • The experience and authority to command the respect and confidence of senior representatives of external bodies, Board members and the senior executive team
  • The ability to balance tact and diplomacy with willingness to challenge and constructively criticise
  • Ability to deal with conflict in a constructive and non judgemental way
  • Good understanding of financial issues and of risk management
  • Strong communication skills
  • Strong networking skills including influencing and advocacy

Desirable: Knowledge of the type of work undertaken by the Charity and a wider involvement with the voluntary sector and other networks.

Trustee arrangements

Wonderseekers is governed by a Board of up to 12 trustees who hold collective responsibility for the charity’s strategic direction and governance. The position on the Board is voluntary and unremunerated. Once elected, the Chair of Trustees can serve a maximum of 3 terms of 3 years.

Currently, Board meetings take place once per quarter, usually in January, April, July and November. Meetings are held on a mixture of days and evenings, with plenty of prior notice and consideration to individual availability given where possible. You will be expected to attend at least four board meetings per year. We also hold an annual strategy day usually in September.

In addition you will likely sit on two or three committees (Remuneration and Nominations, Finance Audit and Risk, Discovery and Learning or Fundraising). Committees generally meet up to four times per year. Meetings are between one and three hours and a hybrid option is usually available.

The Chair of Trustees will also be a director of our trading subsidiary Sparking Curiosity Limited.

Additional time for reviewing papers and building relationships with the senior management team as required should also be factored in. There may also be opportunities to attend special events.

As our Chair of Trustees, it is estimated that the average monthly time commitment is 2-3 days per month however this will vary depending on meetings, events and specific project support.

You may find it useful to look at the guidance on Trustees from the Charity Commission: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-essentialtrustee-what-you-need-to-know-cc3

We are committed to investing in our trustees and therefore trustee training is available. In addition we have an expenses policy to enable trustees to claim back travel expenses.

How to apply

If you are interested in joining us, please contact Carol Smith [email protected] your CV and cover letter summarising your motivation for joining the Board of Trustees and what you would be able to bring to the role.

If you would like to discuss any reasonable adjustments to this application process please do not hesitate to get in touch.

If you would like to arrange an informal conversation prior to submitting an application, please contact us using the details above. We will organise interviews on a rolling basis.

The panel will include existing Trustees, and candidates will also have the opportunity to meet the CEO and some staff. There will be an induction session for the successful new Trustee. We look forward to hearing from you.

Supporting document(s)

  • -_job-pack_chair-of-trustees-.pdf - Download
This role closed on
This role has expired. To find more trustee roles, take a look at our current opportunities

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