Interested in becoming a trustee?
Hen Harrier Action (HHA) is a new charity, in some ways still in formation. We are looking to strengthen our Board and to increase its diversity.
HHA's principal purpose is to increase awareness and engagement with the issues of concern to us, and to best achieve that we must reach all communities across the UK. To support that we must have a diverse and representative board and so we are looking to expand its membership. If you are reading this page it will probably be because you've seen that we are recruiting and have come here to find out more. We hope what follows will help. If you'd like to know more or have specific questions, please contact our Chair, Cathleen Thomas, in complete confidence at firstname.lastname@example.org
That's also the address for you to apply. There is no need to submit a full CV; just tell us a little about yourself in your own words, saying why you want to get involved and what you can bring to the charity. We’ll respond to everyone.
About Hen Harrier Action
HHA seeks to engage a wide audience in the issues affecting nature in our uplands. With the hen harrier as our symbol, we aim to inform a wider public about illegal raptor persecution and other problems arising from intensive land management for shooting. These include heather burning, use of toxins and the ruthless control of other species to increase the number of gamebirds to be shot. We seek to draw attention to the resultant carbon release, risk of flooding, pollution and loss of biodiversity. We campaign for a restoration of natural balance for all to enjoy when visiting our hills and moors.
HHA is a very small charity founded in early 2020. It has no staff, nor is it likely to have in the longer term. Everyone involved is a volunteer. Its main activity is to support Hen Harrier Days around the UK. These events celebrate the hen harrier and protest against its persecution with an aim of drawing public attention to this and other ills associated with driven grouse shooting. There have been Hen Harrier Days since 2014, run initially by Birders Against Wildlife Crime and then in 2019 by Wild Justice. Though small, HHA aims to punch above its weight, to bring change through agency rather than by direct conservation action. To achieve that it must reach all communities, all parts of society.
HHA’s initially planned purpose was to support local Hen Harrier Days by pooling expertise and providing centralised support such as banners and other materials and promotion on a website and by social media. Because of Covid-19, Hen Harrier Day was an online event in 2020, which provided a great opportunity to build engagement through schools, the arts, community groups and some powerful advocates for nature. The pandemic permitting, 2021 will see a return to many local events, probably supported by another online event. This hybrid model will help build on the success of 2020, reaching out even more widely to communities.
A founding principle for HHA is opposition to illegality. We aspire to the highest standards expected in civic society. You can read more about us and our vision, objectives and values here.
Being a Hen Harrier Action trustee
All HHA trustees have a place on the HHA Board. Like other charities, HHA looks for a range of skills and experience on the Board. Trustees do not have to be experts, though some bring expertise in specific areas (for example finance). The main requirement is good judgement and communication skills, to help ensure that all decisions are well founded and communicated.
In our present phase of strengthening the HHA Board, we are looking especially for young people and people from diverse backgrounds, who will be able to help us reach a wider range of people and communities across the UK.
Because HHA has no staff, its model favours ‘hands-on’ trustees: people who can support the charity at a strategic level and also get involved with one or more activities. Not all current trustees engage in that way, which is fine: their strategic input is valuable regardless. But new trustees should look to have the capacity (we know everyone is busy) to add a little hands-on time on top of contributing at board meetings.
The HHA Board meets once every two months and meetings last two hours or less. There are papers to read, but these are kept short. That said, there is much still to do to help set strategic direction, especially in the post Covid-19 context. As of autumn 2020, all meeting are virtual (via Zoom) and that is unlikely to change soon, though an actual meeting (or awayday) will be planned as soon as practicable.
Potential trustees should think in terms of serving for three years. Some, especially young people, might find that is a bit longer than their planning horizon, and so it's fine to agree a shorter period initially.
If you want actively to support HHA but are not sure about a role on the board, why not consider other ways to volunteer? There is so much to do, and we are sure to be able to agree a role with anyone who is interested, across a wide area of activity and with the time commitment matched to availability.
More about being a charity trustee
Being a charity trustee is an important responsibility. Trustees ensure the good governance and strategic management of the charity, always acting with due care in the interest of the charity. Charity law, set out in guidance here, requires that trustees must:
- operate in a manner consistent with the charity’s purposes;
- act with care and diligence;
- manage any conflict of interest;
- comply with legal requirements.
Like many charities, HHA is also a company limited by guarantee, which means that its objectives, and what it may do to pursue them, are set out in law. Provided they stick to these purposes and otherwise behave lawfully, trustees cannot be held liable for the charity’s debts.
The sum of this is that trustees ensure that the charity acts prudently and within the law on the matters that are of concern to it, and does not do things it is not set up to do: marine conservation, for example, would be outside our scope. This collective responsibility of trustees is founded on individual trustees understanding and exercising their individual duties – which include ensuring they have the right information to do so. Charity trustees often have a range of interests but when acting for a particular charity they must act in the interest only of that charity (declaring any possible conflict of interest). The Board is responsible for planning the activities of the charity, and its proper financial and general management within the law.