Recruitment of Chair of Trustees

The Chamberlain Highbury Trust (CHT) is looking for a new Chair to take over the leadership of the organisation on, or before, the end of March 2022 following an introductory 9 month period as a board member. The CHT will also be recruiting a number of new trustees to take up forthcoming vacancies on the Trust.
The Board currently comprises 10 members from a variety of backgrounds, including two Birmingham City Councillors whose appointments are a requirement of the Trust’s Memorandum & Articles dated 30th April 2016. CHT was registered with Companies House and the Charity Commission in 2016. The Trust enjoys the support of 4 patrons; Tristram Hunt, Sir David Eastwood, Anita Bhalla OBE and Col. Oliver Chamberlain.

The principal objectives of the charity are:
• to promote for the benefit of the public the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment of the land and buildings known as the Highbury Estate on the borders of Moseley and Kings Heath,
Birmingham, West Midlands. This comprises Highbury, the home of the politician Joseph Chamberlain, which is listed Grade II* and its gardens forming part of the
Grade II registered historic park;
to advance the education of the public in:
• the history of the Chamberlain family and in particular (but not limited to) their legacy in relation to civic leadership;
• the history and heritage of the Highbury Estate; and
• the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment
• to promote social inclusion for the public benefit by preventing people from becoming socially excluded, relieving the needs of those people who are socially excluded and assisting them to integrate into society;
• to advance the education of the public by promoting, fostering and encouraging the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the arts in particular (but not limited to) within and around Birmingham; and
• to further such other exclusively charitable purposes according to the law of England and Wales as the Trustees in their absolute discretion from time to time determine.

The CHT Project
From the outset, the Trust has been developing a project that will restore the building and grounds of the Highbury estate to a high standard of conservation, and that will secure a long-term future for the property.

Recruitment of Chair
The project aims to provide a sustainable and resilient future for Highbury through
enabling the inclusive growth of incubator businesses, home workers and community
organisations in the area. Simultaneously, it will connect the place’s legacy as the
home of the Chamberlain family to the creation of future civic leaders from
Birmingham’s young people. The rationale for intervention is:

  1. The opportunity of changing working patterns post-COVID with more likely demand for flexible and hot desking working spaces form those who work in the creative, digital and social enterprise parts of the local economies of Kings Heath, Moseley and Stirchley. At present there is an imbalance between those working in the creative sector (high) and the associated businesses located
    within walking distance of Highbury (low);
  2. There is currently no element of the leadership, citizenship and governance programmes for young people in Birmingham that offers any context that is Birmingham specific. There is no content that allows Joseph Chamberlain’s leadership and governance model from the 1870s to be developed as a platform for considering what civic leadership means in a 21st century city so diverse and youthful.
  3. The successful exploitation and leverage of the asset cannot be realised through a solely commercial solution for 2 reasons: a) the conservation deficit is so great as to preclude a private sector investment to generate the benefits, and b) the freeholder’s charitable purposes require Highbury to be “for the benefit of the citizens of Birmingham”.
  4. Past poor governance and management complexities under the current arrangement have failed to safeguard the asset and use it to deliver a viable business model.

Through the delivery of this project, Highbury, currently an underused asset of national heritage importance will become a mainstay cultural heritage attraction in the locality. Under effective management by a single purpose entity, the
Chamberlain Highbury Trust, the Estate will establish a resilient business following the restoration and refurbishment of the house and the 33 acres of gardens. By 2025 the business will offer a balance of trading and charitable use to meet the
demands of identified audiences. At present, Highbury provides very limited public access, mainly as a wedding and hires venue; this is at odds with its freeholding charitable purpose to be ‘for the benefit of the citizens of Birmingham’. The project will:
• Deliver a new hybrid business model combining commercial, public sector and 3rd sector resources. Although Birmingham City Council (BCC) will remain the sole trustee of the freeholding charity, the CHT will manage and operate the asset through a 125-year lease with responsibility for management and maintenance. CHT will control the strategic direction and operation of Highbury. Hence, the project does not strictly involve an asset transfer but will sustain cultural activity by properly utilising an asset controlled by BCC.
• Develop a progression programme based at Highbury for 2500 11-30 year olds each year, focused on bringing a unique flavour to leadership, governance and citizenship courses in the city. This flavour is a combination of insight into the leadership approach and style of Joseph Chamberlain and the special atmosphere that exists at Highbury in which young people can learn differently. We have tested this concept with UpRising (evaluation showed it was the most effective session on its programme in 2019-20) and already have partnerships with The Governance Forum, Future Leaders Network, Birmingham Civic Society’s Next Generation Awards and University of Birmingham School.
• Act as a driver for the local visitor economy by attracting 18,000 visitors a year through paid ticketed admissions to “The House where the weather was made” * telling the story of the Chamberlains and their influence on Birmingham, the nation and globally. Our current profile of visitors to CHT led events shows that we attract 10% of visitors from within a 2-hour drive time (Cheshire, Oxford, Hereford, Nottingham).
• Radically improve the core of Highbury Park as an environmental and landscape asset which underpins the quality of life and well-being of those living within 15 minute’s walking distance.
• Offer year round seasonal events and activities within a cultural programme for 5000 attendees indoors and outdoors (both free and charged for) which will blend the special atmosphere and associations of Highbury with cutting edge artistic practice across a variety of media (in partnership with local organisations and incubator businesses and social enterprises using our
flexible working spaces).
• The newly tendered commercial venue hire and catering operation will become more profitable, as its distinctiveness and differentiation from other competing offers will be improved and the relationship with incubator businesses in the local creative and digital sector is developed.

  • “The House where the weather was made” is a reference to Winston Churchill’s description of Joseph Chamberlain as ‘The man who made the weather’. It was coined by Peter Marsh, Chamberlain’s biographer, as the title to his book about Highbury.

    In Summary
    By 2025, Highbury, the historic home of Joseph Chamberlain, will be a mainstay institution in the local economy – restored as a centre for incubator businesses, cultural events and neighbourhood activities to drive local inclusive growth with
    economic, social and environmental benefits. By developing the leadership skills of Birmingham’s diverse young people within Highbury, the Chamberlain Highbury Trust will act as catalyst for radical thinking and approaches, distinctive of Birmingham – fostering collaboration between micro businesses, social enterprises and the heritage and creative industries. At a pivotal point between the creative localities of Kings Heath, Moseley and Stirchley, Highbury will be a centre for neighbourhood dynamism, as part of a wider local and regional ecosystem. Through
    partnerships with over 35 organisations, Highbury will support skills development and quality of life, wellbeing and place making, the determinants of economic renewal of neighbourhoods in a post pandemic Birmingham. Over the next 5 years, CHT will evolve from a ‘rescue’ trust into an independent ‘operating’ trust with a small permanent staff.

    The Role of the Chair of the Trust
    Maintain a clear and ambitious strategic vision and direction
    • Ensure that trustees approve and monitor grant applications and financial plans, define goals and targets and monitor performance
    • Ensure the effective administration of the trust and its financial stability
    Provide leadership
    • Take a leading and high profile role in advocacy of the trust, promoting it to a wider audience and serving as a spokesperson
    • Ensure the concerns of the board, advisory groups and other stakeholders are addressed
    • Ensure good relationships with volunteers, stakeholders, customers and (future) staff
    • Safeguard the good name and values of the trust.
    Ensure good governance
    • Plan and chair meetings of the board of trustees, ensure it functions effectively and review its performance
    • Meet the legal obligations common to all trustees
    • Address any conflicts of interest among trustees and ensure they have appropriate induction, training, advice, development and appraisal
    • Work with trustees to plan board succession, openly and widely
    recruiting diverse trustees with relevant skills and experience
  • Required interests and experience
    We are seeking an individual who can demonstrate:
    • A passion for the heritage of the region and its importance to the economy, education, and well-being of a diverse community
    • Board level experience and proven competence in chairing meetings and managing performance, and in creating a safe climate for discussions
    • Experience within 3rd sector organisations, including an understanding of the governance, financing and responsibilities of charities
    • The ability to commit sufficient time to the leadership of an ambitious and active organisation, including highly qualified and enthusiastic trustees who have worked tirelessly over five years
    • Some understanding of the local social and political context
    • Awareness of the challenges and opportunities for fundraising within the charity and heritage sectors, preferably with experience at the appropriate level and a network of contacts
    • Excellent communication skills within all types of media and to all audiences
    How to apply
    To register your interest please email
    Providing a copy of your CV and a covering letter, outlining the following:
    • Brief biography (career synopsis/key achievements)
    • The qualities you would bring as chair
    • Your commitment to the city’s heritage
    • Whether you would wish to be considered as a trustee if not appointed as
    • Confirmation that you are eligible to act as a trustee (see appendix)
    Applications are invited by 17.00 Monday, 8th February 2021
    Interviews will be held on 22nd and/or 26th February

  • Appendix
    The law disqualifies some people from acting as trustees. You will not be able to apply if you:
    • Have an unspent conviction for an offence involving dishonesty or deception;
    • Are currently declared bankrupt, or are subject to bankruptcy restrictions or an interim order;
    • Have an individual voluntary arrangement to pay off debts with creditors
    • Are disqualified from being a company director
    • Have previously been removed as a trustee by either the Charity Commission or the High Court due to misconduct or mismanagement.
    An application will not be accepted from anyone:
    • Under the age of 18
    • Not entitled to live and work in the UK
    • A current officer or member of the Council, or anyone who has been a member within the last 4 years

    Data Protection
    By submitting your application you are giving consent to the information that you provide as part of your application being stored and used in the selection process.
    In line with the Data Protection Act 2018 all information about you will be securely held, with access restricted solely to those involved in dealing with your application.
    Your data will be destroyed after 12 months unless you are appointed as Chair or trustee.

  • For further information:
    Charity Commission guidance – GOV.UK (
    The essential trustee: what you need to know, what you need to do (CC3) – GOV.UK

Email: | @CHighburyTrust | The Chamberlain Highbury Trust
Highbury, 4 Yew Tree Rd, Birmingham B13 8QG
Reg. Charity No. 1169845 | VAT Reg. No. 257 0545 04 | Reg. Company Number: 10157307