Interested in helping guide and support our unique community centre?
Do you have fundraising, immigration law or people management experience? Or lived experience of the asylum process? Then this voluntary role could be right for you.
About St Augustine’s Centre
"St Augustine is an amazing centre and the first time I visited the centre last year I decided to be a volunteer with them because they are providing great services to people who do not know anything about the country and the asylum process. Being a Trustee makes me feel like a part of this valuable centre and allows me to contribute to providing services to people like me seeking asylum. Being a trustee in the board gives me the chance to use my previous experience in working with international humanitarian organisations and empower my experience here in the UK. I feel now as a part of St Augustine Centre, my voice and ideas are valuable to keep up the great work of this centre. We have great board members and all of them are kind and supportive." - Hakar, Trustee
St Augustine's is a specialist charity working with people seeking asylum, and new refugees, who are rebuilding their lives in Calderdale. We help with advice on immigration and asylum and offer one-to-one support with welfare, housing, health, and access to wider services.
Renowned for our person-centred approach, we provide a welcoming, safe and inclusive space. We offer English language classes, training, creative, social, sports and wellbeing activities, trips and volunteering opportunities. We also run a befriending and integration service.
Our centre has a free shop, salon, chill out room and garden, and we also refurbish bikes and second-hand tech. On Mondays and Thursdays, we provide a cooked lunch at our Welcome Cafe, which is free and open to everyone. Come and join us sometime!
We began in 1968 as a Church playgroup and in 2009 became an independent charity, continually evolving and welcoming all, regardless of faith, ethnicity or background. Over time we became a specialist centre for people seeking asylum and refugees. We have 20 staff (14 full-time equivalents), 170 volunteers and a community of 1000 individuals and families from 76 different countries.
We are looking for three-four new trustees
St Augustine's is seeking new trustees with compassion and commitment to help oversee our work amidst a challenging time for people seeking asylum and those working to support them.
We are hugely proud of our board and want to bring in new trustees to complement the skills and knowledge of the eight people already on it, in line with our agreed priorities. We are specifically looking for people with expertise in one or more of the following key areas:
Immigration specialist: Do you have direct, professional experience in UK immigration law? Perhaps you are a solicitor, lawyer or have been involved in the Immigration sector with current knowledge of the changing legal context?
Fundraising: Are you an experienced fundraiser, keen to bring your strategic and hands-on know-how to help us access funding across a variety of income sources? Would you have time to help us apply for awards and build our reputation as a pioneering centre for people fleeing war and persecution?
‘Human Resources’ / managing people: Are you experienced in managing people and developing and implementing staff-related policies? Can you advise on the more holistic side of well-being, alongside pragmatic, legal HR issues?
Lived experience of the asylum process: Have you sought asylum yourself? Can you help us think about the 'big picture' and bring your experiences and ideas to influence and shape St Augustine's Centre? Are you interested in leadership, and contributing some of your time, on a voluntary basis, to ensure St Augustine's is well run?
We would also love you to tell us if you have local knowledge and connections in Calderdale, experience in the voluntary/charity sector, leadership, strategic management and governance including policy development. But please don’t worry if you don’t.
Never been a Trustee before? We will support you.
We are a supportive board and offer a ‘buddying’ system where you are matched with another trustee who can help you make sense of anything you aren’t sure of. We have a full induction pack and process to help you understand the duties and responsibilities of being a trustee, and get to know the wider team and our work. You can also attend a board meeting to get a sense of how we operate, and if you then decide it’s not for you, we will understand. We appreciate that sometimes you have to experience something to know if it’s for you.
"I joined the board at St. Augustine's Centre just over a year ago. It can be so despairing seeing the conflicts and humanitarian crises going on all around the world. You can feel like there is nothing you can do. I have found that being on the board, allows me to feel less powerless. Everyone has been so welcoming and encouraging and the message is definitely, roll your sleeves up and get stuck in." - Lora, Trustee
What do St Augustine’s Centre trustees do?
Our trustees have overall oversight of the charity but they are not generally involved in the day-to-day running of the charity. This is done by a team of staff and volunteers led by our Director. However, our Board of trustees collectively makes overall strategic decisions about the approach the charity will take and its future direction. They act as guardians of the vision and values of the organisation. They make sure we have the policies and procedures to meet our legal obligations and are financially sustainable and accountable. They provide support, ideas and challenge to our staff team so that we can achieve the best we can for, and with, our Centre Members and demonstrate we are making a difference. That said, some of our trustees do get operationally involved as volunteers in the music group, or helping on an interview panel, or the reception from time to time, but this is not expected beyond the role of trustee.
What is the commitment involved?
Being a trustee is a voluntary role. There is no payment, although expenses are paid to cover transport and childcare as required. We would hope you can offer at least three years with us, with the option to give more if you would like to at that point.
There are 4 Board meetings per year. They happen in person but if people can't make it, then can join online. Each of these meetings lasts 2 hours and you need to read the ‘papers’ before each meeting so you are prepared, which will take another hour or so per meeting. Support will be given to people whose first language isn’t English. Board meetings tend to be around 4.30pm on a Monday afternoon, four times a year.
In between these meetings, we sometimes have 'one topic strategic conversation' meetings. We found there wasn't time in board meetings to dig into the details of vital issues affecting our organisation and the people we support. We recently had one on homelessness and destitution and are about to have one on immigration. These sessions are externally facilitated and an expert and staff will usually attend too.
We also ask trustees to be on at least one of our 8 ‘sub-group’ linked to your interest and experience. Sub-groups cover areas like finance, well-being, safeguarding, sustainability, communications, health, immigration etc etc. Sub-groups also meet 4 x a year for an hour to an hour and a half. Each one involves a small number of staff and trustees. There are also emails to Trustees which sometimes need a response or action in between meetings.
So the minimum we ask of a trustee is to be able to give the above, which equates to approximately 8 hours a month.
Beyond this, it is largely down to the individual how much time they want to give. Some of our Trustees are retired, some live abroad half the year, others work full time and some are full-time parents, so each person gives what is right for them. Trustees with time to give can sometimes devote a full day a week to the Centre getting involved in various ways, whereas others will give 8 hours a month. We are grateful to them all.
Why become a trustee?
Being involved in something that is making a difference and changing people’s lives can be very rewarding. It is a role that can be stimulating and challenging in the best of ways, as well as being personally fulfilling. It is a great way to give something back to your community. Being involved in decision-making on all aspects of the organisation can also be an excellent way to develop your skills and enhance your CV and/or your life beyond work
"Being a trustee at St Augustines is my first serious volunteering role since retirement. I have been made to feel welcome from my first contact and at ever contact since. I have met some remarkable people, and learned things that have made me both wonder and shake with rage. This is the best thing you can do with your skills and passion, its not always easy, but its always worth it." - Keith, Trustee
Above all else, St Augustine’s is a truly exciting and dynamic organisation to be part of. There is so much important work going on that new trustees will have little difficulty finding something that makes good use of their skills and experiences and where you can see very practical benefits to the lives of a diverse range of people. Why not join us?
We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults and expect all trustees, staff and volunteers to share this commitment. New trustees would be appointed to the Board subject to an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and satisfactory references.
To find out more about our work:
Interested? Our recruitment process:
Fill in our simple online application by 5pm Sunday 25 February 2024
We will let you know if you have been shortlisted for an interview by 5pm Wednesday 28 February 2024.
Informal interviews take place at St Augustine’s Centre on Monday 4 March between 7pm - 9pm or Wednesday 6 of March in the day between 2pm - 6pm. We always prefer to meet in person, and show you the Centre if you are new to it, but if meeting in person on this date isn't possible, we could organise an online interview. As part of our commitment to make this process as open as possible, we will email questions to shortlisted candidates in advance of interviews.
If you have any questions or would like an informal chat, please call either our Co-Chair Jess or our Director Sara:
If you have lived experience of the asylum process, we can also put you in touch with Hakar, a trustee with lived experience of the asylum process. He would be happy to talk to you about his experience of joining the board of St Augustine’s Centre.
Send in your completed application by 5pm Sunday 25 February 2024. You will find the form by clicking here.