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Doorstep Library Network brings books and the magic of reading directly to children in their own homes in some of London’s most disadvantaged areas. Our 100 plus passionate and committed volunteers currently visit over 500 children on 11 different housing estates in Hammersmith & Fulham, Westminster and Lambeth after school throughout the school year. They bring books into homes that otherwise might not have any, and support children to learn to love reading for pleasure and in doing so to improve their reading skills.
Our volunteers also work with parents to enable them to fully participate in their children’s reading. We build strong and lasting bonds with the families we work with; the trust that develops allows our volunteers to give additional support to the most vulnerable families, signposting them to local services and help.
Why Doorstep Library?
Poor literacy levels amongst the most disadvantaged children in London are shocking. One in four children leave primary school unable to read or write properly. 40% of 11 year olds from inner London schools have reading ages of between 6 – 9 years old when they start secondary school. One in three children don’t have access to books in their homes.
Poor reading skills are inextricably linked to economic disadvantage and reduced life chances. For various reasons, children from the poorest families are less likely to have books, less likely to read with their parents and less likely to read for pleasure. Not only are they more likely to fall behind in their studies as a result, they fall behind in their lives.
We believe in the power of words to take children places not just in their imagination, but in their lives. We want to see a world where all children can thrive in homes in which books are celebrated and a love of reading is embraced.
Doorstep Library started out in 2009 as a small group of volunteers with a vision - that enabling the most disadvantaged children to learn to love reading for pleasure would give them skills for life. Our first project was in Fulham on one of the most notoriously violent and socially isolated housing estates in the borough.
Today we are a registered charity with 8 full-time and 6 part-time employees, more than 100 volunteers and over 500 beneficiaries. Turnover in 2017 was £253,000 and our supporters include Trusts, companies, schools and individuals.
DLN has ambitious plans to scale up our work. In order to do this we need to raise more funds by diversifying our funding base, recruiting and training more volunteers.
Trustees are responsible for the effective governance of the charity. We work closely with the Director and the senior management team to ensure that DLN is delivering it mission in a cost effective and efficient manner. As we grow so our board of trustees will help us build our reputation as a charity uniquely placed to be part of the drive for improved literacy and life chances in some of the most deprived areas in London.
Remuneration: The role of Trustee is not accompanied by any financial remuneration, although expenses for travel may be claimed
Location: London SW1W ODH
Time commitment: 4 Board meetings per year. Trustees may also represent the Charity at various events and meetings with key stakeholders and members of staff.
Reporting to: Board of Trustees (Executive Committee)
· Ensure that Doorstep Library complies with its governing document, charity law, company law and any other relevant legislation or regulations
· Ensure that the governance arrangements are working in the most effective way for the Charity
· Encourage positive change where appropriate
· Ensure that the Board of Trustees is regularly refreshed and incorporates the right balance of skills, knowledge and experience needed to govern and lead the charity effectively, and which also reflects the wider population
· Annually assess the changing environment and approve the organisation’s business plans
· Annually review and approve the organisation’s strategy
· Review and approve the organisation’s fundraising strategy
· Annually review and approve the organisation’s budget
· Approve policies
· Work within any agreed policies adopted by the charity
· Act as an ambassador for the cause and the charity
· Maintain close relationships with key members of the local authorities, funders and with key influencers
· Act as a spokesperson for the organisation when appropriate
· Represent the charity at external functions, meetings and events
Efficiency and effectiveness
· Ensure that decisions are taken in the best, long-term interests of the Charity and that the Board takes collective ownership
· Contribute actively to the board of trustees by giving firm strategic direction, defining goals, setting targets, and evaluating performance against agreed targets
· Foster, maintain and ensure that constructive relationships exist with and between the Trustees
· Review the results achieved by the staff team in relation to the organisation’s aims and objectives, annual and long range goals and the performance of similar projects
· Be certain that the financial structure of the organisation is adequate for its current needs and its long range strategy
· Provide candid and constructive criticism, advice, comments and praise
· Approve major actions of the organisation, such as capital expenditure on all items over authorised limits and major changes in activities and services.
· Demonstrate a strong and visible passion and commitment to the charity, its strategic objectives and cause
· 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
· Strong networking capabilities that can be utilised for the benefit of the charity
· Ability to foster and promote a collaborative team environment
· Ability to commit time to conduct the role well, including travel and attending events out of office hours
Board members will be invited to serve a three-year term to be eligible for re-appointment for one additional term.