Organisation:  Environment Trust (ET) and South West London Environment Network (SWLEN) are merging. The merged charity will eventually have a new name and identity.

See more information about the merger of ET and SWLEN

Vision: The new Chair will be able to influence the organisations future strategy and direction. The working assumptions are as follows:

The wonderful natural assets and rich heritage of South West London are under threat. Our rivers, green spaces, parks and the historic fabric of our built environment is suffering from the impact of climate change, habitat destruction, commercial development and declining public sector budgets. We believe that everyone in our diverse communities should have access to and be able to engage with the beautiful places in their neighbourhood. Everyone should feel connected to their environment, proud of where they live and empowered to play their part in looking after it.

We envisage a new charity reshaping the environmental and heritage voluntary sector in South West London that will foster a strong sense of place embracing built and natural heritage for the long-term sustainability of our shared assets, and work to put these at the heart of our community by engaging and empowering local people for the well- being of all.

We will work and collaborate across organisational and local authority boundaries and systems. We will measurably increase our impact for people and their heritage by increasing our effectiveness, organisational sustainability and the use of our resources to deliver on this vision and mission.

Role title:               Chair

Direct report :  Line manages the Chief Executive Officer.

Time commitments: Chair Trustee Board meetings normally six times a year. In addition, have sufficient time to meet regularly with the CEO and sometimes other staff. Represent the organisation at various events and meetings with key people. Generate and process key documents and papers.

Remuneration:     The post is voluntary and not remunerated. Expenses may be paid in certain circumstances.

Location:               The organisation’s office is located at ETNA, 13 Rosslyn Road, Twickenham, TW1 2AR. Board meetings may be held in other locations in the Borough.

Purpose of the role

  • Hold the Board of Trustees and CEO to account for the Trust’s mission, vision and objectives
  • Provide inclusive leadership to the Board of Trustees and ensure its effectiveness as a team
  • Ensure that each trustee fulfils their duties and responsibilities for the effective governance of the trust and fulfils their potential as a trustee
  • Support and, where appropriate, challenge the CEO and ensure that the Board works closely with the staff to achieve agreed objectives.
  • Act as an ambassador and public face of the Trust in partnership with the CEO.

Main Responsibilities

Strategic leadership

  • Provide leadership to the charity and its Board, ensuring the charity has maximum impact for its beneficiaries
  • Ensure Trustees fulfil their duties and responsibilities for the effective governance of the Trust, addressing and resolving any conflicts in the Board
  • Ensure that the Board operates within its charitable objectives and provides a clear strategic direction
  • Ensure that the Board regularly reviews major risks and associated opportunities and satisfies itself that systems are in place to take advantage of opportunities, and manage and mitigate the risks
  • Ensure that the Board fulfils its duties to ensure sound financial health of the charity with systems in place to ensure financial accountability


  • Ensure that the governance arrangements are working in the most effective way within agreed policies
  • Develop the knowledge and capability of the Board of Trustees
  • Encourage positive change where appropriate
  • Appraise the performance of the Trustees and the Board on an annual basis
  • Ensure that the Board of Trustees is regularly refreshed and incorporates the right balance of skills, knowledge, experience and diversity to reflect the wider population

External Relations

  • Develop and maintain close relationships with key members of local administrations and other key influencers
  • Act as a spokesperson for the organisation when appropriate
  • Represent and act as ambassador for the organisation and its cause at external functions, meetings and events
  • Facilitate change and address any potential conflict with external stakeholders

Efficiency and effectiveness

  • Chair meetings of the Board of Trustees with efficiency, impartiality and objectivity ensuring a proper record of decisions
  • Ensure that Trustees are fully engaged and that decisions are taken in the best, long-term interests of the beneficiaries, charity and that the Board takes collective ownership
  • Foster, maintain and ensure constructive relationships with and between the Trustees
  • Work closely with the CEO to give direction to Board policy-making and set the agenda for Board well planned, purposeful meetings
  • Monitor that decisions taken at meetings are implemented.

Work closely with the CEO to take urgent action between Board meetings when meetings are not possible or practical and take appropriate decisions enabling business to progress in the best interests of the Trust and beneficiaries

Relationship with the CEO and the wider team

  • Establish and build a strong, effective and a constructive working relationship with the CEO and hold the CEO to account for achieving agreed strategic objectives
  • Support the CEO respecting the boundaries between the two roles
  • Ensure regular contact with the CEO developing and maintaining an open and supportive relationship to discuss and resolve concerns and challenges
  • Liaise with the CEO to maintain an overview of the charity’s affairs providing support as necessary
  • Conduct an annual appraisal and remuneration review for the CEO in consultation with other Trustees
  • Ensure the CEO has the opportunity for professional development and has appropriate external professional support

Person Specification


  • Demonstrate a strong and visible passion and commitment to the charity, its strategic objectives and cause
  • Demonstrate personal gravitas with experience of operating at a senior strategic leadership level achieving objectives within an organisation
  • Strong leadership skills, ability to motivate Trustees and CEO and to foster and promote a collaborative team environment
  • Exhibit strong inter-personal and relationship building abilities and be comfortable in an ambassadorial role
  • Demonstrate tact and diplomacy with the ability to listen and engage effectively
  • Demonstrate strong networking capabilities with experience of external representation, delivering presentations and managing stakeholders
  • Ability to commit time to conduct the role well, including travel, attending meetings and events as required


  • Broad knowledge and understanding of the Civil Society sector and current issues affecting it
  • Broad understanding of charity finance issues
  • Good understanding of charity governance issues
  • Significant experience of chairing meetings and events
  • Experience of charity governance and working with or as part of a Board of Trustees

More information:

Environment Trust latest accounts

Environment Trust review

SWLEN latest accounts and review

For further information about this job please contact  John Anderson, Chair ET on 07951 021655 or Simon Martin, Chair SWLEN on 07913 686647