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Home Vice-Chair Wanted!

Vice-Chair Wanted!

Are you a disabled activist living or working in Bucks with a burning determination to make things better for all disabled people? BuDS is seeking a Vice Chair of Trustees to play a key role in the future of this successful and dynamic charity.

The Vice Chair Role

BuDS Trustees are all activists keen to get things done and make Bucks better for disabled people. The Vice Chair of Trustees is a similarly hands-on ‘executive’ role within BuDS.

The Vice Chair is seen as a complementary role alongside that of the Chair of Trustees. After 7 years of growth, BuDS is too busy and wide-ranging for one person to oversee and manage, and the Vice Chair will be expected to take on and develop areas of BuDS work currently managed by the Chair. This could include communication, marketing, governance or project-related work, or taking over key relationships, or a mixture of these. The exact role is flexible and open to discussion, and will be tailored to your availability, interests and skills.

However, as a minimum, you must

  • publicly identify as a disabled person. BuDS is a pan-disability charity and any and all impairments and disabilities will qualify for this role.
  • have a strong personal commitment to changing Buckinghamshire to make it better for all disabled people, and have the skills and knowledge to contribute to making that happen.
  • have a good understanding of a mixed range of disabilities, and be willing to learn more.
  • be wholly committed to the social model of disability
  • be able to operate in a party-politically neutral and non-partisan way. This does not mean that you cannot have party political or other connections in your personal or professional life, but you must be able to draw a clear separation between your other interests and your role at BuDS.
  • Be able to work effectively and constructively with people of all types, especially disabled people, and with the Chair of Trustees and other Trustees
Practical Aspects of Being Vice Chair

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 Vice Chair because they are disabled!

BuDS is a modern charity with excellent IT. The Vice Chair will get an email account and use of shared document drives (Office 365). This is a role which can be done mostly from home, but attendance at the BuDS Office in Saunderton at least one day or half-day per week will probably be necessary to make the role work effectively. There will be other meetings connected with your work, but these can be arranged for your own convenience.

The Trustees meet formally once a month, usually on a Saturday morning in Aylesbury, but this can be changed to suit everyone’s availability. There is a weekly informal meeting open to all, again on Saturday morning in Aylesbury.

All 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 Vice Chair for financial reasons.

How Do I Apply?

Please e-mail [email protected] to express an interest in becoming Vice Chair. You can also call 01494 568864. For an informal discussion without any commitment, please call Andrew, the Chair, on 07811 142935.

We will then ask you to send us a brief CV and to explain why you would like to be Vice Chair. This will be followed by an informal meeting with the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer, at a place and time that suits you.

Following that, we will ask you to become a BuDS volunteer and to start shadowing the Chair. This will include attending some Trustee meetings. During this period, your role will be identified and clarified. When this is done to everyone’s satisfaction, you will be co-opted as a Trustee and acting Vice Chair. After three months in the acting role, you would then be confirmed in the role of Vice Chair until the next AGM, when you can stand for election.

We normally expect the Vice Chair to remain in post for at least two or 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. Additional professional references and a complete CV will be requested before you are appointed as acting Vice Chair.

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.