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Becoming a Trustee of CYTO

Foreword/Welcome from David Page, Chair of Trustees​

Dear Applicant,

I’m delighted that you are interested in helping to grow and lead our charity, which has nearly 60 years of heritage as a grass-roots organisation delivering high quality community youth theatre in Croydon.

Our vision is to be a modern, high quality performing arts facility that benefits the people of Croydon and is a beacon of excellent teaching, inclusivity and tolerance and a partner of choice for creative and local organisations who want to make a difference in Croydon.  

Our mission is to offer a wide range of creative and technical skills and opportunities available to all of the children and young people of Croydon so that they can be confident and find their voices in a space that nurtures difference, can feel a valued and engaged part of our community and can be supported to develop their ambitions and dreams for the future.

We currently have a small board of 4 trustees and are now looking to expand our board to at least 10 people with the skills and experience to help our organisation grow sustainably and achieve its strategic objectives.

Becoming a trustee at this time will give you the opportunity to help shape CYTO’s ambitious capital development plans and build a strong culture, strategy and way of working. We need help to plan strategically and fundraise to support our capital development ambitions.

Our trustees must have a passion for expanding the life chances and opportunities of children and young people, for the community of Croydon and the power of youth theatre to make a difference in people’s lives, and for equality, diversity and inclusion. We are looking for a range of skills and experience among our trustees. 

This information pack will provide you with information about the organisation’s mission, core purposes and future plans and details about the key skills and attributes we are looking for in a trustee. 

We actively encourage applications from people who have not served as trustees before and from local people who are experts by experience. We want everyone who believes they can contribute to CYTO’s board of trustees to feel welcome to apply.

This is an exciting time for CYTO and I look forward to hearing from applicants who share our passion for inspiring children and young people to achieve their full potential.

David Page

CYTO Chair of the Board of Trustees

Introduction to CYTO

Croydon Youth Theatre Organisation (CYTO) has been serving the young people of Croydon for nearly 60 years. Located in Oakley Road, South Norwood, CYTO provides young people aged 6-19 with drama, production & technical theatre workshops, producing and the chance to appear in productions. Our award-winning professional team teach theatrical skills to our members in a safe environment, encouraging personal development and boosting the young people’s wellbeing. These activities immensely enrich our members’ lives and the communities from which they come, offering new experiences and support networks.

CYTO has a board of trustees which is supported by a volunteer Management Committee who oversee the day-to-day running of the charity. There are also paid staff members, including an Artistic Director, Drama and Choir Facilitators and a Digital Development Officer.

We offer weekly drama workshops for children and young people from the age of  6-19 in four different groups. We also offer a technical crew workshop and a creative producing and event planning workshop every week. 

CYTO has been part of the National Theatre Connections scheme for the past three years and has weekly company rehearsals for this programme for young people aged 13-19.

Our workshops are all affordable, with a cost of £60 per term and a bursary fund for children and young people who cannot afford this fee. We have been successful in receiving funding from a range of charitable funders over the past 5 years but we know there is lots more we can do on this. We also rent out our spaces to other groups when they are not in use by CYTO which provides us with a sustainable regular income.

We have recently been awarded a 30 year lease on our building by the London Borough of Croydon and are planning a £2.2m refurbishment of our premises on Oakley Rd, South Norwood. This venue has served as our home since 1984 and much of it hasn't seen refurbishment since then. We are determined to save this valuable community asset so it can continue to serve Croydon and its people. We have created a Steering Committee to oversee this project and would welcome any new trustees joining the committee and supporting this piece of work.

Our aims are:

  • To provide opportunities for young people to develop and create live theatre and performance that is fun, inclusive and relevant to their lives.

  • To equip young people with the self-belief, resilience and skills to fulfil their potential and support their wellbeing.

  • To develop partnerships with schools, youth organisations and community groups, and engage volunteers in widening participation.

  • To be truly diverse and inclusive in all our practices and activities, reflecting the communities we serve.

Our website will provide you with more information about our programmes and what we do: https://www.cyto.org.uk/cyto-sessions-sign-up and you can find out more about our ambitious plans by emailing our Artistic Director Andrew McPherson AndrewMcPherson@cyto.org.uk.  

 

Trustee Role

We are looking for a number of trustees to join our board with a range of skills and experience, especially:

  • Finance skills: we need at least one trustee with strong finance skills and experience. This could be someone with a good understanding of finance from any sector, but understanding of charity finance, SORP submissions and/or experience of finance management in a charity of arts organisation would be ideal. 

  • Fundraising skills: we are looking to raise a substantial amount of funding for capital development and need trustees who can help us with this.

  • Commercial development experience: we are looking for a trustee with experience of developing commercial relationships, including contracts, growing and building ethical revenue.

  • Strategic planning skills: we are looking for trustees with any professional background who have experience of strategic planning and organisational development to help us grow strategically and sustainably.

  • Equality, diversity and inclusion expertise: equality, diversity and inclusion is a central value of CYTO and key to our strategic objectives. We are particularly interested in hearing from candidates with lived experience of equalities issues and who have a track record in community engagement and amplifying children and young people’s voices.

  • Communications skills: we are looking for at least one trustee with knowledge and experience of strategic communication and charity brand development. Political influencing skills would also be desirable. You may have gained this experience working in a charity or corporate environment or through campaigning for change in your local community.

  • Creative thinking skills and practice: you may work in theatre, be a children’s author or another artistic practitioner with experience of involving children and young people in your work, you may be a youth worker or member of a community who has developed innovative new services for children and young people. We’d love to have your experience and creativity on the board to challenge, engage and develop our understanding of what CYTO can achieve.

 

You will be required to provide a clean enhanced DBS certificate if you become a trustee. CYTO will be able to pay for you to get a certificate if you do not have one.

 

Time Commitment

  • This role will take approximately 10 days per year

  • You will need to attend 4 meetings of the Board per year:

    • These meetings are face-to-face at CYTO’s theatre building in Oakley Road, Croydon

    • They take approximately 3 hours and are usually conducted in the evening

    • Trustees are required to attend a minimum of 3 meetings and a minimum of 1 face-to-face meeting per year

  • The term of appointment will be three years initially with a review of performance for renewal for a further three years and again after this period for a maximum of nine years. 

  • We are also planning a major capital development project and would ask trustees to contribute the equivalent of around 5 days per year to support this.

Benefits of Being a Trustee

  • You will have the chance to make a real and positive difference to children, young people and families through your skills and experience

  • You will learn about youth theatre services for children and young people and get to visit our premises as a trustee to observe their activities and the impact it has on the lives of the local community

  • You will gain new skills and experience that could help you develop professionally and in your personal life

  • You will hone and develop your critical thinking and strategic skills

Trustee Responsibilities

Board members of CYTO will be both directors of a company limited by guarantee and trustees of a charity. They will therefore, have duties and responsibilities under company law and charity law. 

As a trustee you will need to:

  • Uphold and adhere to standards of charity governance as set out by the Charity Commission https://www.charitygovernancecode.org/en/front-page

  • Ensure CYTO complies with its articles of association and carries out its charitable objectives for the public benefit

  • Share responsibility for ensuring that CYTO complies with all legal and regulatory requirements

  • Contribute to the strategic direction of the charity

  • Monitor the performance of the executive against the organisation’s strategic and operational plans

  • Contribute to the identification and monitoring of risk 

  • Safeguard the good name and values of CYTO

  • Ensure the effective and efficient administration of CYTO

  • Ensure the financial stability of CYTO

  • Ensure equality and diversity is prioritised in all aspects of the organisation’s business and operation

 

Formal guidance on the responsibilities of trustees is issued by the Charity Commission: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-essential-trustee-what-you-need-to-know-cc3 

Trustee Behaviours

In addition to the legal responsibilities of a trustee, we expect all CYTO trustees to:

  • Attend all four board meetings a year, with a minimum attendance of three.

  • Read all board papers in advance and arrive at Board meetings prepared.

  • Participate in meaningful discussions at Board meetings with your expertise, skills, knowledge and experience. 

  • Scrutinise Board papers and challenge the Board, Executive and Board’s advisers constructively, ask questions, be inquisitive and welcome challenge back. 

  • Active input into discussions, apply good judgement and contribute to the decision-making process. 

  • Be prepared to support the charity outside of board meetings.

  • Build constructive, positive relationships with other Trustees and staff with a willingness to listen and understand. 

  • Seek and increase knowledge, understanding and be willing to learn and improve. 

  • Have courage to make difficult decisions when required. 

  • Be an ambassador and an advocate at all levels for CYTO.

  • Maximise your networks and identify opportunities that will benefit CYTO.

How to Apply

To apply to be a trustee, please send a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and covering letter setting out how you feel you meet the person specification above to Katie Pekacar at katie.pekacar@independentmind.co.uk  by 29th February 2024.

  • All applications will be assessed against the criteria in this brief by the Chair and other Trustees.

  • Shortlisted applicants will be asked to attend an online interview on Saturday 16th March. Please state an alternative date in your cover letter if you are not available on this date. 

  • If you have any questions or queries, please email Katie Pekacar by 22nd February 2024 to arrange to speak to a current trustee before making an application.

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