LETTER FROM OUR CHAIR
Thank you for taking the time to consider joining the Board of StepChange Debt Charity.
The role of a charity trustee can be extremely rewarding – while the position is a serious duty, and can be challenging and requires some time commitment, there are many personal and professional benefits to the role that can offer considerable satisfaction, positive experiences and enjoyment. Whether you are seeking your first charity trustee role, or already have experience of sitting round the Board table at a senior level, if you share our passion and commitment to help people who are experiencing problem debt then we would love to hear from you.
We are looking to recruit up to four new trustees. Further details are included later in this pack as to the type of experience and skills that we are seeking, but applications are particularly welcomed from those who have lived experience of financial hardship – either through personal experience, or exposure to working closely with people who have experienced such hardship.
StepChange is an incredibly important organisation forming part of the UK’s social security safety net that catches those of us who fall upon misfortune for one reason or another. In our case we help people who find themselves in problem debt, unable to repay their full commitments. There are estimated to be some 8 million people who are close to being in such circumstances at present. Each year some 500,000 visit our website and over 160,000 go through our comprehensive debt advice process. Historically, rising unemployment has been the key driver of an increase in the volume of new clients in this unfortunate predicament. The resurgence of inflation and the prospect of a recession are sure markers that we are, sadly, going to be considerably busier in the period ahead.
Our mission is to create a society free from problem debt. I sometimes reflect that this sounds a little over ambitious, and perhaps it is, but it reflects a determined state of mind that I and all my colleagues at StepChange share, to help everyone that we possibly can. We are wholly non-judgmental about people’s history of why they have got to where they are, our focus is on getting them back on their feet. Often indebtedness arrives with illness, addiction, separation, mental stress or some causation other than straightforward overspending and people need help from more than one source. We work in partnership with many other charities specialising in these areas, our job is to help put people’s finances back onto a stable platform so that they are able to enjoy a sense of security from which to move forward.
This is what we aim to provide. In an ideal world people would talk to us early, before they are in real trouble. In the real world this seldom happens, and people come to us already in considerable distress. We bring enormous relief, not only by listening, but by recommending an appropriate solution and then, if asked, putting it into effect by reaching agreement with their creditors on what can realistically be repaid over time and what cannot. We are funded largely by the financial institutions, directly or indirectly, so that the core service we provide is completely free at the point of use.
Making sure we do this well, and efficiently, is not straightforward, and our Board of Trustees plays a crucial role in this. Trustees are responsible for providing appropriate oversight, governance and leadership to the charity in setting its strategic direction and fulfilling its charitable purposes. We are looking to expand our Board from a current membership of eight trustees, who come from a range of backgrounds, bringing both professional skills and personal perspective. We share a high level of commitment and are striving to build an inclusive culture in which everyone contributes, diverse views are respected, and collective decisions are reached in an environment of trust and mutual respect. Relationships between Board members and our talented executive team are strong and supportive whilst always ensuring that we provide an appropriate level of challenge.
If you are inspired by our vision, would like to be part of further strengthening StepChange’s future and can offer appropriate experience, commitment and time, we look forward to hearing from you.
John Griffith Jones, Chair, StepChange Debt Charity