SW17 8NE
Tooting, Greater London
£32,000 per year
Permanent, Full-time
Job description

Salary: £32,000pa

Hours: full time

Contract: permanent

Are you a talented and experienced leader of programmes for young people? Do you have the skills to work with young refugees and asylum seekers, placing their talents and aspirations at the heart of all that you do?

CARAS is seeking a new Head of Service to lead our pioneering Youth Team.


All services are currently being delivered as a hybrid offer- some are face to face and some are online. However this is subject to change. The successful candidate will need to be able to work in Tooting and the south London area.

About the organisation

CARAS is a registered charity providing holistic support to people in south London and beyond who have an asylum seeking or refugee background. Our values are:

Kindness. CARAS will nurture all who are part of our community, helping everyone to develop their skills, talents and interests. 

Justice. CARAS will strive for social justice following a rights-based approach in all of our work and challenging instances when rights are not upheld in wider society. 

Empowerment. CARAS works alongside people, recognising and respecting their skills and strengths and striving together for better outcomes. 

With’ not ‘for’. CARAS will put the voices, opinions, experiences and needs of its beneficiaries at the heart of all that we do. 


About Youth Services at CARAS

Our Youth Service is award winning. We are one of only 16 youth organisations to hold a London Youth Gold Quality Mark due to our commitment to ensuring young people are at the heart of our work and the decisions which affect them.

For many years, we have run groups to support asylum seeking and refugee young people, especially separated children, developing a thriving community with people who might otherwise experience isolation and exclusion from their new communities.

Our youth programme works with young refugees, paying close attention to their wishes, needs and ambitions. CARAS offers a holistic educational, social and practical programme for young people. This includes sports programmes, study support groups, youth clubs and wellbeing groups as well as practical learning workshops and individual wellbeing check-ins.

We are seeking an ambitious individual with a clear vision that places young people’s participation at the heart of everything, working towards young people leading and co-delivering wherever possible. The successful applicant will need to prioritise work that boosts young people’s skills, confidence and opportunities to actively participate in changing the world around them, demonstrating skills in strategic planning and an abilityto work collaboratively. Flexibility, creativity, ambition and a willingness to learn with young people are vital assets.

The role has line management responsibility of a small staff team of up to two people, as well as an expectation that all Heads of Service regularly collaborate with each other to deliver a consistently excellent service across the whole organisation. In addition to providing strategic leadership, the role also includes some service delivery.

CARAS is a thriving organisation with a highly motivated, friendly and experienced staff team, bolstered by the generous support of equally skilled volunteers and trustees who come from many walks of life. The successful candidate will be working with a range of stakeholders and will be able to input into work across the organisation, develop partnerships, welcome volunteers, and of course, be welcomed and supported by us all. 

Additional benefits

CARAS offers 28 days’ annual leave per year, plus public holidays. Additonally, staff can take up to two days in order to volunteer in an organisation or for a cause of their choice. CARAS also pays into a workplace pension with employers’ contributions currently at 4%. We are a proud member of the Living Wage Foundation, ensuring that all employees at every level are remunerated fairly.

All front-line staff are offered monthly clinical supervision with a qualified and experienced psychologist, allowing for exploration within a confidential space of challenges that arise, and for mitigation of vicarious harm.


About the role

The main purpose of the role will be to oversee the day-to-day running of our work with young people, focusing on delivering on our long- term strategic aims as set out in our five-year plan. You will be accountable to your line manager, CARAS’ strategic goals, the Board of Trustees and to relevant funders. All of your work must be in service of the best interests of our community members. 

You will be supported through regular line management and clinical supervision, working alongside colleagues from our welcoming and supportive youth and adult teams. There are opportunities to access relevant training and support for this role.

Main activities

  • Strategic oversight of CARAS Youth Services
  • Liaison and collaboration with CARAS’ Heads of Service team 
  • Line management of staff in your team, ensuring that they are supported, guided and appropriately challenged
  • maintain an outreach and engagement strategy to reach new beneficiaries
  • Manage systems for new intakes and build relationships with new service users and referral partners
  • Manage waiting lists if required
  • Together with your team, ensure that all young people within CARAS are signposted to the best support to meet their needs, within CARAS and in partnership with other organisations
  • maintain a blended delivery programme that combines online activities and face to face delivery
  • Develop and refine models of best practice for working with refugees and asylum seekers 
  • think holistically about people’s needs, designing services that promote learning, skills, health and wellbeing
  • Lead on consultation with community members to ensure that services are designed with their needs at the heart 
  • lead on partnership development, disseminating tried and tested models of best practice to other relevant organisations and colleagues in the sector 
  • Together with senior leadership, develop an annual budget and work to this throughout the year
  •  Quality control of the service, ensuring that high standards are met 
  • liaise with other providers to ensure that the needs of refugees and asylum seekers are being met
  • Where appropriate, contribute to advocacy and campaigns which improve the lives of refugees and people seeking asylum 
  • Lead a ‘Youth Team Meeting’ ensuring that there is strong collaboration with all relevant CARAS staff
  • Attend and contribute to relevant partnership meetings and policy networks
  • participate in referral, team and other meetings as required
  • Together with the Volunteer Development Lead, develop and deliver relevant and up to date training for your staff and volunteer teams
  • ensure that all safeguarding concerns are reported to the safeguarding lead
  • Occasional service delivery where coordinators and volunteers need support 
  •  Evaluation and reporting, both internally against CARAS strategic goals and externally to funders 
  • Represent your area of work to trustees where necessary, including occasional attendance at trustee meetings 


Person specification

CARAS is an equal opportunities employer. We are keen to hear from people who are underrepresented in our management level staff and are particularly keen to hear from applicants with lived experience of being a refugee or an asylum seeker.

Essential criteria:

  • at least 2 years’ experience of managing others, being a team leader or similar
  • strategic vision and planning skills
  • a creative and participatory approach to learning
  • Experience of collaboratively designing a service with its users
  • ability to communicate clearly with people from diverse backgrounds
  • ability to motivate and engage young people and adults, listening to others and working in a non-judgemental way that develops trust
  • friendly, warm and patient manner
  • good organisational and administrative skills
  • good budgeting skills
  • good IT skills
  • a thoughtful and empathetic approach to working with migrant groups
  • a strong understanding of safeguarding procedures

Desirable criteria:

  • knowledge of one or more community languages (including but not limited to Arabic, Somali, Tigrinya, Amharic, Pashto, Dari, Farsi and Kurdish)
  • experience of working with adult or youth refugee and asylum-seeking groups
  • understanding of gendered experiences of forced migration
  • experience of working in partnership with other organisations
  • knowledge of the statutory services that support young people
  • experience using a Data Management System for recording and reporting on work
  • experience of working with migrants and/or refugees, or lived experience of forced migration
  • deep knowledge of issues facing refugee and asylum-seeker groups, including an understanding of possible mental health outcomes
  • experience of managing complex funding streams

To apply, please email your completed application form by 9am on the 8th of November 2021. Late applications will not be considered. CVs and covering letters are not accepted. Your application must be saved as a word document.

Interviews will take place on 11th and 12th November.

We are looking to bring someone into the role as soon as possible.

Please note that we may extend the submission deadline and interview dates depending on volume of applications.

We are an Equal Opportunities employer and would like to monitor equality data across the organisation. Please help us by completing our anonymous survey by following the link below on the application form.


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Posted on: 18 October 2021
Closed date: 08 November 2021
Tags: Senior Management, Project Management

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