Could you be our new chair of trustees?

Could you be our new chair of trustees?

Could you be our new chair of trustees?

Volunteer Opportunity – Chair of Trustees, Open Door Charity, St Albans

The Open Door Charity is looking for a new chair of Trustees to lead their board in sustaining and developing new opportunities to meet the needs of rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness in the St Albans area. This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced leader with a passion to tackle homelessness issues, and with experience in strategic decision making and developing and delivering change.

What we do
The Open Door Charity is a community response to homelessness, working in partnership with key players in the St Albans area.
Our mission is to ensure that full and effective support is available to prevent rough sleeping and help former rough sleepers to be healthy, safe and rebuild their lives. Currently we raise funds and bring together volunteers to:
● provide key services at the Open Door Night Shelter, which is managed by
the Hightown Housing Association. Our support includes the provision of food,
volunteers as kitchen staff, together with funding counselling & mental health
● run the annual Winter Beds Project (Dec to end March), giving additional
overnight accommodation for the coldest months of the year:
● fund the Safer Streets Outreach Worker for rough sleepers, supplementing
other services provided by the local council; and
● make grants to individuals or organisations to help the move to settled

We want to extend the Charity’s role in helping rough sleepers, people who find difficulty in retaining accommodation and other vulnerable people at risk of homelessness. Despite St Albans’ reputation as a wealthy city with high house prices and high earners, the reality is that there is a significant number of people in St Albans living on the margins, who need support and help to turn their lives round.

Who we are
The Open Door Charity was founded in the early 1990s, when it set up the OpenDoor Night Shelter in St Albans. Initially volunteer run, the project grew rapidly and management transferred to a local housing association, now Hightown Housing Association.
The Charity works in partnership with Hightown, St Albans District Council and other local charities to assess the changing nature of homelessness in the area, and to develop support for rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness.
We have a healthy volunteer base (150+ volunteers) and generous support from the local community, through donations and fundraising events. Our reserves have given us financial security, though recently we have experienced annual budget deficits (partly as services have developed) and we need to grow income.
The Charity currently employs a part time Publicity, Fundraising and Volunteer Coordinator, and engages paid support to coordinate the Winter Beds Project. We are exploring our staffing resource including a possible Executive Officer role.

What you will do
The Board of Trustees are looking for a committed and dynamic individual as Chair for the Charity, who will have a unique opportunity to shape new approaches to helping some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
As Chair, you will lead and drive forward the work of the Board, working closely with trustees and partners, and ensuring sound governance. Key objectives will be:
● to ensure that the Charity maintains and develops the current set of projects
with the night shelter
● to maintain and grow the Winter Beds Project
● to direct and enthuse the Charity to identify opportunities, develop a strategy
and deliver existing and new initiatives.
All this will involve developing close working contacts with
● St Albans City and District Council – at cabinet holder, councillor and senior
officer level
● Senior management at Hightown who are responsible for Open Door and
other projects relevant to supporting homeless people.
● Other homelessness projects in St Albans, notably Centre 33 and Emmaus
● Senior managers at homeless projects in neighbouring towns.
● National bodies supporting work with the homeless including Homeless Link
and Housing Justice.
You will also have a role in maintaining the Charity’s profile, including liaison with
local organisations and fundraisers, and representing the Charity at local
homelessness and other forums.
Who we are looking for
The ideal candidate will have
● A keen interest in homelessness issues in the St Albans area (close contact
with such issues is not essential but an empathy with the problems of
homelessness is strongly desirable)
● Experience in the public or private sector of developing and delivering
strategic change
● The ability to network and build relationships with other partners, and to
inspire and direct a team.

Time commitment
You will prepare for, chair, and follow up actions from Trustee meetings, which are held 8-9 times per year, in the evening.
There will also be:
● daytime and evening meetings with other partners,
● some attendance at events representing the Charity (typically 2-3 per month);
You will need to spend time networking and researching with other local and national organisations.
Estimated total time per week 5 hours, but can occasionally be busier, especially when delivering new projects or other change.

How to apply
For an informal conversation about the role, please contact; Peter Graham, Acting Chair, ( or
Lindsey Mcleod Treasurer, (
Please send a brief resume by email to
Your resume should include
● why you are interested in the Chair post and what you feel you can bring to it.
● Details on relevant previous or current roles including experience as a charity trustee
● Why you are interested in helping to tackle rough sleeping and related challenges in St Albans

Peter Graham
Acting Chair: Open Door Charity, St Albans