What are the requirements to become a Cavalier Centre Trustee?
In 1995 Perry RDA group was established by Jane Barker from her home in Yeaton, north Shropshire. Over twenty years, demand for RDA sessions grew to the extent that an all-weather, purpose built facility was needed. Ten years of fundraising and incredible dedication from the trustees has resulted in the The Cavalier Centre, home to Cavalier Centre RDA (Formerly Perry RDA), opened by Princess Anne in 2019.
The Cavalier Centre is an accessible and inclusive equestrian centre near Much Wenlock, Shropshire offering Riding for the Disabled activities: carriage driving, vaulting (gymnastics on horseback), hippotherapy (physio on horseback) and horse riding as well as programmes which support improved confidence and skills, mental and emotional wellbeing. All activities are designed to be accessible to people with disabilities or who are otherwise disadvantaged who may struggle to access suitable mainstream provision.
The small team of staff and an army of incredible volunteers work together to create a welcoming and supportive atmosphere where ability is championed. The Centre operates seven days a week, 50 weeks of the year. Participants may come from a variety of settings: individuals or as part of organised groups. We work with local authorities, Social Prescribers, third sector organisations, care homes and others to provide regular activities and programmes which improve physical and mental wellbeing.
The Cavalier Centre provides activities at subsidised rates and fundraises to make up the shortfall to ensure that cost is never a barrier to participation for our users.
None of this would be possible without the commitment and energy of our board of trustees. Being a trustee can be hard work and, for most, it’s unpaid. The trustees have the ultimate responsibility for running a charity, for its property, finances and the employment of any staff or volunteers.
Unpaid. Expenses incurred while travelling to meetings
As a minimum, there will be four meetings a year. Additionally, trustees are invited to the AGM and to support the Centre at events and with fundraising or other areas where they have particular skills.
The Charities Act 1993 defines charity trustees as those responsible under the charity’s governing document for controlling the administration and management of the charity. This is the case regardless of the terminology used to describe the role. For The Cavalier Centre the charity trustees are the board of directors, known as the trustee board. The trustee board comprises:
- the chair
- the treasurer
- the secretary
- up to nine further trustees
At its simplest, the role of the trustee board is to receive assets from donors, safeguard them and apply them to the charitable purposes of The Cavalier Centre. The trustee board must always act in the best interests of the charity, exercising the same standard of duty of care that a prudent person would apply if looking after the affairs of someone for whom they have responsibility. The trustee board must act as a group and not as individuals.
The duties of a trustee board member are to:
- ensure that The Cavalier Centre complies with its governing document (its Articles of Association), charity law, company law and any other relevant legislation or regulations
- ensure that The Cavalier Centre pursues its objects as defined in its governing document
- ensure that the Cavalier Centre applies its resources exclusively in pursuance of its objects. For example, it must not spend money on activities which are not included in the objects, however worthwhile they may be
- contribute actively to the board of trustees by giving firm strategic direction to The Cavalier Centre, setting overall policy, defining goals, setting targets, and evaluating performance against agreed targets
- safeguard the good name and values of The Cavalier Centre
- ensure the financial stability of The Cavalier Centre
In addition to the above statutory duties, each trustee should use any specific skills, knowledge or experience they have to help the board of trustees reach sound decisions. This may involve leading discussions, identifying key issues, providing advice and guidance on new initiatives, and evaluating or offering advice on other areas in which the trustee has particular expertise.
Each trustee must have:
- commitment to the mission of The Cavalier Centre and embody its values
- a willingness to meet the minimum time requirement and to take on proportionate levels of work in support of the organisation
- good, independent judgement
- an ability to think creatively
- a willingness to speak their mind and positively challenge
- an understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship
- an ability to work effectively as a member of a team and to take decisions for the good of The Cavalier Centre, promoting diversity and equality throughout
The board of trustees collectively needs skills and experience in the following areas:
- financial management, income generation, and enterprise
- knowledge of livery management, estate management, health and safety and risk
- working with and management of volunteers
- communication, social media and PR
- digital strategy and data protection
- human resource and performance management
- volunteering management and brokerage
- funding/foundations/innovative fundraising and events
- collaborative partnerships/development of key stakeholder groups/social investment and impact
- submission of statutory reports/returns, legal obligations, corporate governance requirements
- strategic vision and development of 3-5 year plans