Are you a disabled person living or working in Bucks who wants to make things better for all disabled people? BuDS is seeking additional Trustees to strengthen our team so that we can continue to fix the big issues affecting all disabled people in Bucks.
Being a BuDS Trustee
BuDS Trustees are activists keen to get things done and make Bucks better for disabled people – it is not a dry once-a-month commitment like it can be in other charities. BuDS Trustees have a hands-on role within BuDS, leading one or more of our projects or taking on specific roles within a project. Your exact role is tailored to your availability, interests and skills, so that everyone – especially you – is happy.
Your lived experience as a disabled person and determination to change things for the better is most important to us. If you have any professional skills or background knowledge, so much the better.Projects that we’d particularly like additional Trustee support with are Benefits Information, Fair4All Services, Fair4All Events, Fair4All Taxis, and Accessible Everywhere. We are also looking for Trustees with an interest in communications, volunteers/HR, and IT.
We are currently looking only for disabled people living in Bucks to join as Trustees – all impairments and disabilities are welcome. Current BuDS Trustees are both employed and non-employed people and have a range of disabilities including mental health, physical and sensory impairment, neurological and neurodevelopmental.
Practical Aspects of Being a Trustee
As a disability charity made up of disabled people, we are very flexible and open to varied ways of working and to ensuring that our working methods are accessible and inclusive. We look for ways that work for everyone, whatever their disability or impairment. Nobody should be put off applying to be a BuDS Trustee because they are disabled!
BuDS is a modern charity with excellent IT. Trustees get email accounts and use of shared document drives (Office 365) and most work from home according to their availability. IT support is available. Trustees can also work in our comfortable well-equipped offices at the Clare Charity Centre, Saunderton, whenever they like, and this suits some people best.
The Trustees meet formally once a month, usually on a Saturday morning in Aylesbury, but this can be changed to suit availability. There is a weekly informal meeting open to all, again on Saturday morning in Aylesbury. There will be other meetings connected with your project work, but these can be arranged for your own convenience.
BuDS is a high-profile charity and there are opportunities for strong public campaigning and lobbying. However, there are just as many opportunities for quieter behind-the-scenes work – both are needed to get things done.
BuDS Trustees have agreed not to normally claim travel or subsistence expenses. However, this will be reviewed on request, as we do not want anyone to be put off being a BuDS Trustee for financial reasons.
How Do I Apply?
Please e-mail [email protected] to express an interest in becoming a Trustee. If you’d like an informal, no-commitment, chat with one of the existing Trustees, please e-mail [email protected] to arrange a phone call or message exchange.
We will then ask you to send us a brief CV and to explain why you would like to be a Trustee. This will be followed by an informal meeting with some of the existing Trustees, at a place and time that suits you.
Following that, we will ask you to become a BuDS volunteer, start working on a BuDS project, and to shadow a Trustee. This will include attending some Trustee meetings. When we are both happy, you will be co-opted as a Trustee until the next AGM, when you can stand for election.
We normally expect Trustees to remain on the Board for two to three years.
Safeguarding is very important to us. We will carry out an adult and children enhanced DBS (criminal record) check when you become a BuDS volunteer and also take up two character references. Because we understand that some disabled people may have a criminal record or difficult periods in their past, we will consider everyone individually and carry out a risk assessment in discussion with you.
What Is BuDS?
Buckinghamshire Disability Service (BuDS) is the only independent pan-disability user-led organisation (DPULO) in Buckinghamshire. Pan-disability means we include all disabilities and impairments such as mental health, learning disability, physical impairments, sensory loss, autism, etc. User-led means we are disabled people taking action ourselves for ourselves.
We are non-party-political and non-partisan. We value our independence and do not accept core funding from any council or government body, although some of our projects are part-funded by statutory bodies. We are on the side of disabled people and will not hesitate to act and speak out in defence of disabled people in Buckinghamshire.
We are a registered charity in good governance, members of NCVO, Disability Rights UK and the Fundraising Regulator. Safeguarding is important to us. We are informal but professional and efficient.
What Does BuDS Do?
BuDS works to fix the big issues that affect all disabled people in Bucks, like social security benefits, NHS and council services, accessibility, transport, attitudes and employment. Our work removes barriers which prevent disabled people living their own lives, and finds answers to the big problems which affect disabled people. We don’t work directly with disabled individuals, but sort out the wider problems which affect large groups of disabled people, so that all can benefit.
We don’t duplicate work which is already being done by others; we ‘fill the gaps’ by tackling the issues that matter which nobody is tackling properly. We look at how important an issue is to disabled people before starting work – we don’t chase funding just because it’s there, or follow the government’s agenda.
We are fearless and speak out, telling the truth to power. We always like to work constructively in partnership with people and organisations, but if we find a deliberately closed door, we’ll do our best to kick it down!
How Does BuDS Work?
We have lots of projects, all run by a team of about 25 volunteers, mostly disabled people themselves. We deliberately have no paid staff. Some project work lies dormant waiting for volunteers to pick it up. Our projects are as follows:
- Benefits Information – helping disabled people understand the bewildering and often cruel changes to disability benefits which are happening all the time
- BucksWorkability – helping to improve services which support disabled people into work or help them stay there. We also help our own disabled volunteers to find work through our Reach4Work project.
- Accessible Everywhere – fixing the access problems and barriers which disabled people encounter in streets, public places, shops, parks, with parking, on public transport, etc. This is not just the physical problems, but looking at barriers facing people with all types of impairment or disability. We created the Stoke Mandeville Way to showpiece accessibility on public streets.
- Fair4All Services – monitoring NHS and council services for disabled people and where necessary intervening to get problems sorted and make things better
- Fair4All Taxis and Minicabs – helps ensure disabled people can get an accessible vehicle and trained driver at a fair price
- Fair4All Events – helps make outdoor public events accessible for disabled people
- Attitudes Project – opposing disability hate crime and negative attitudes to disability and disabled people
- Paralympics – we are full partners in the Bucks Legacy Board and help arrange the Paralympic celebrations every two years in Bucks.