Could you be a Trustee?

Could you be a Trustee?

Open Door seeks new Trustees

The Open Door Charity is looking for new trustees with experience of the social care sector, especially housing and homelessness, or fundraising.

The Open Door Charity is looking for two additional trustees to contribute to its work supporting rough sleepers. We are looking for
1. An individual who has experience of working with agencies and organisations which support those who are homeless, potentially homeless or in poor or insecure accommodation,
2. An individual with experience of charitable fundraising.

What does the Open Door Charity do?
The Open Door Charity in the early 1990’s set up the night shelter for rough sleepers in St Albans which still bears its name. Management of the Night Shelter has been with Hightown Housing Association for many years. However, the charity continues to support the Night Shelter and other activity to help rough sleepers:
It provides grants to the Night Shelter for such things as replacement furniture, food, equipment (e.g. air conditioning for the kitchen).
It funds the Safer Streets Outreach Worker who is a key player in engaging with rough sleepers and others with serious difficulties.
It pays for counselling and other services to help service users move on
in their lives.

It employs a volunteer coordinator who manages the 100+ volunteers who provide evening meals, every evening of the year, and refreshments from Monday to Friday for those using the lunchtime drop in advice service.

It manages, and part funds (around 50%) the Winter Beds Project which offers accommodation to up to 4 rough sleepers during the
coldest months of the year.

What is the role of the trustees?

The trustees form the Board of the Open Door Charity which is both a limited company and a charity registered with the Charity Commission. They are therefore responsible for the strategic direction of the Charity but given that the Charity currently only has one employee, the Volunteer, Publicity and Fundraising Coordinator, they are to a degree hands on in managing the
Charity’s work.

Main responsibilities include:

Raising awareness of local homelessness and related issues, and setting the strategic direction of the Charity.
Assessing applications from Hightown Housing Association for project funding. This may involve applications for funds to buy equipment,
furniture etc; or it can involve support or part-support for additional posts.
Monitoring the achievements of the Night Shelter, and of the Safer Streets Outreach Worker, in helping service users to manage and
improve their lives (which are invariably complicated).
Supporting our paid coordinator in raising funds to continue our support for the Night Shelter and other projects. Last year, expenditure totalled £108,000.
Managing the Winter Beds Project (supported by a Steering Group of other volunteers); working with the Council and other parties to put in
place policies and other arrangements, including setting up the temporary accommodation and the recruitment of volunteers.
Contributing knowledge and skills, for example in marketing, project management and IT.
Since others largely deliver what the Charity funds, we need to be confident about the value of the projects we support and about how they fit into the wider support available in St Albans.
We need to maintain regular contacts with St Albans Council Housing Department, and we contribute to the work on the St Albans Homelessness Strategy.

New trustees
We are looking for two new trustees. In particular, we are looking for individuals who can bring to the Board some practical experience of working directly with homeless people, especially rough sleepers, and/or experience of agencies or organisation that work with homeless
people. Your contribution could be invaluable in bringing a wider perspective to our work and in providing practical and strategic advice
on current and future activities.
We are looking for trustees who also have experience of fundraising, including social media and other focussed marketing; experience of grant applications would also be helpful. You would support and advise the Volunteer, Publicity and Fundraising Coordinator.

The Board of Trustees meets around 8 or 9 times a year. Meetings are held on a Monday evening and usually last 1 – 2 hours. There is, of course, some additional work involved, but much of this can be managed by email.

Next step
We are advertising for these posts and would like to hear from anyone with an interest in supporting us.
If you would like more information or to discuss in more detail what is involved, please contact Peter Graham, Acting Chair, Open Door Charity;
mobile 07745 189084,