Sharing Voices (Bradford) (SVB) is a Company Limited by Guarantee and a Registered charity. SVB operates both at grass root and strategic levels in order to deliver direct results and benefits to people from African and African Caribbean, South Asian, Asylum seeker and refugee and Central and Eastern European communities around the issue of mental distress, wellbeing, inclusion and capacity building so that excluded people are enabled to take learning through into the cycle of service development, planning and delivery at a strategic level.
In order to achieve this SVB employs a community development model informed by critical perspectives of psychiatry provides people from BME communities, who have been adversely affected by psychiatry, a means to think through many issues they face thereby legitimising their experiences by contextualising them within their own culture, faith, gender, and value framework. This approach combined with befriending and capacity building of individuals and groups has enabled people to develop a positive outlook and begin to develop strategies that has enabled many of our clients to ‘get out’ of the mental health system which has for many been a traumatic experience.
Our main activities are:
- Befriending and sign posting
- Capacity building of individuals and groups.
- Work with individuals and communities around mental wellbeing and what this means to them and offer communities an alternative to a medical model.
- Work at a local and national strategic level to inform and develop policy and practice in this area of work.
- Undertake and support research e.g. NIHME as well as develop other important partnerships e.g. Sainsbury Centre for mental health.
- Contributions to community cohesion by enabling diverse communities to bridge build and learn about each other.
Part of our work has been around developing a critique around culture and tradition of people. This has enabled people and communities to contextualise their values and culture in a modern liberal and secular society. Opening up debates is critical we feel to developing belonging and challenging racism and extremism in all its forms.
SVB is managed, in terms of its long-term direction, by an “Executive Committee”. This is essentially a group of people who agree to be part of the charity in a voluntary capacity, and are known as “Trustees”.
The Trustees are not paid but some type of help is available to them (see below “What Help is Available?”).
SVB is aiming to become an inclusive organisation that embraces diversity in all aspects of its work and management structure. SVB is also keen to develop and promote a person centred perspective that is about enabling people who have lived with mental ill health and have had experience of the mental health system to be involved and direct the work of SVB.
What is the Role?
The members of the Executive Committee are elected once every year at the Annual General Meeting (“AGM”).
The members of the Executive Committee have to meet at least three times a year in order to discuss important issues that concern the SVB. However the SVB committee has decided that it needs to meet at least once a month so that it can undertake the proper development of the organisation.
From time to time, it may also be necessary to hold special meetings to consider particular issues. For example, if it becomes necessary to change the constitution; or to fill a vacancy on the Executive Committee due to someone’s resignation; or to consider the long-term vision of the organisation.
The meetings will usually take place at the SVB premises but in order to give all communities a chance to get to know what the organisation is doing, some meetings may, at times, be held at different locations.
In order to be a Trustee you have to be over 18 years old, and must not be prevented from acting as a Trustee due to certain legal conditions. If in doubt, please ask the Chairperson before nominating yourself or giving your consent to be nominated onto the Executive Committee by someone else.
As a member of the executive Committee you will have certain responsibilities. The main duties are detailed below in connection with each position, but there are other requirements including:-
- to attend meetings
- to declare an interest at meetings if any item on the agenda concerns you personally
- to always act honestly and in a responsible manner so as not to bring the organisation into disrepute
- to notify the Chairperson if circumstances arise that make it difficult for you to continue in your position on the Executive Committee.
As the role of a Trustee is so important, there are situations where it may be felt that you cannot continue to be a Trustee. This can happen where, for example, you have failed to attend three consecutive meetings without giving a reason as to your inability to attend. Also if there are legal proceedings pending against you or some other legal barriers make it difficult for you to continue in your role. However, you will always have a chance to put your side of the case in the event of your being asked to resign, and so you should always ensure that you have evidence or a friend who can assist you
The Executive Committee
The present positions on the Executive Committee (known as “Honorary Officers”) are as follows:-
The Chairperson has the responsibility for chairing meetings, providing the main contact in the event of any crisis or public accountability, and has the role of overseeing the smooth running of the Committee process. The Chairperson also has responsibility for being the last person to give a decision on any appeal or complaint lodged against the SVB by either a member of staff of the organisation or by a member of the public.
The Vice-Chairperson has the responsibility of stepping into the Chairperson’s role in his/her absence, as well as fulfilling any role that he/she feels able to do in line with his/her experience and background.
The Secretary has the responsibility of taking notes (“minutes”) at meetings, sending out invitations to meetings and distributing the minutes to all members of the Executive Committee. He/she also has the duty to deal with any correspondence that is specifically connected with the Executive Committee.
The Treasurer has the important role of managing and being accountable for the SVB finances: he/she must ensure that all income and expenditure is accounted for, and that a report on all financial matters is presented to every meeting and at the end of the financial year (which runs from 1st April to 31st March). The Treasurer also has the task of devising fund-raising programmes for the SVB in conjunction with the staff and the PRO.
In addition to any of the above tasks, the Executive Committee has the vital role of providing supervision and management for the staff employed by SVB. For instance, the Chairperson may have to supervise the Manager or, with one or two other members of the Executive Committee, form the last link in the chain to consider any appeal in the event of any grievance or disciplinary matter relating to the staff or other members of the Executive Committee. Members of the Executive Committee will also form the last stage in the handling of any external complaints against SVB.
In the interest of developing our organisation SVB recognises that it may need to develop further roles within the organisation and also may need to create space for sub committees which will focus on particular areas of interest e.g. human resource sub-committee. Where this is the case, such members will have additional duties to attend meetings and guide the expansion of the company.
What skills and experience do I need?
Our Executive Committee like all Trustee boards need all kinds of skills to govern effectively. Any of these:
The 'hard' skills - legal, financial, management and so on - which are necessary to understand some of the complex decisions to be taken
The 'soft' skills - boards of trustees need people who can encourage team working, problem solving, asking difficult questions, decision making and, yes, to make people laugh!
Different experiences and perspectives - charities increasingly need to be more responsive of the communities they serve. They should bring in diverse perspectives and backgrounds
Values - trustees have an important duty and all should be able to demonstrate basic values such as honesty and integrity
You are at the centre of the action, helping to decide things which matter
Before becoming a trustee, what should I know?
As a new trustee or someone who is interested you may want to know more about the work of SVB, how it operates and your role as trustee and what is expected of you. If you wish to take advantage of this we can arrange an induction process will enable you to participate and or attended a executive meeting, visit offices and meet some volunteers. There is also other support that we may be able to offer so please do ask.
What Help Is Available?
It is understood that being a member of the Executive Committee can be a complicated and time-consuming matter. Accordingly, the following forms of help is available to those who wish to join the Committee:
- refund of travel costs to and from meetings
- refund of childcare costs
- refund of personal assistance costs to enable a member to attend and participate fully in the meetings
- the availability of Committee papers and SVB documents in Braille, large print, on audio tape or in other languages
- help with BSL or other language interpretation
- venues that are fully accessible to all
- training on how to carry out your role as a member of the Executive Committee
All forms of reimbursement are available upon the production of valid receipts and/or invoices.
We value the involvement of all sections of the community, especially those who are eager to improve the lives of disabled people and their carers.
So if you are interested in becoming a member of the Executive Committee you are kindly asked to contact the Business Operations & Finance Manager Osman Gondal Osman.firstname.lastname@example.org or Secretary Nazia Nazir email@example.com
Sharing Voices Bradford, 10 Mornington Villas Bradford BD8 7HB.