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Chair Helen & Douglas House

Join the world’s first children’s hospice, Helen & Douglas House, as Chair at this exciting time of growth and strategic development.

  • Location: Oxford
  • Salary: Reasonable expenses paid
  • Closing date: 9 a.m. Tuesday 9th July

Who we are.

Rated ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC, Helen & Douglas House (HDH) is a warm and homely place for babies and children living with life-limiting and terminal conditions and their families. We provide life-enhancing respite and end-of-life care for children living with life-limiting and terminal conditions across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, at our hospice in Oxford, at home or in hospital. We care for babies and young children until the age of 19 as well as their families, and our hospice is filled with laughter, whilst also being a peaceful place where families can create happy memories in their last days, weeks, months or years together.

We recently welcomed a new CEO who is passionate and committed to leading the organisation in continuing the long legacy of excellent care and support; expanding our network of supporters and building on a respected research focus to help influence the shape of Children’s palliative care. It is an exciting period of change and transformation for Helen & Douglas House as we enter the planning phase of our next 3-year strategy to build on our success.

With our longstanding Chair, Lord Ian Blair of Boughton, recently retiring from his role, we now seek a Chair to build on our legacy of excellent care and support.

Becky Wolf from the Care Team Volunteer Felix Maxwell-Wood playing the xylophone in the garden March 2023 and painting

Who we are looking for.

Our new Chair will be a seasoned, values-driven leader with gravitas, integrity, humility, humour and compassion. As an ambitious and visionary leader with strong credibility, they will be a strong and visible ambassador and champion.

A strategic leader with relevant existing networks that maximise new opportunities for Helen & Douglas House. With sound commercial acumen and experience in supporting organisations through growth and change they will lead us on this exciting next phase of our journey.

Most importantly, you will be an exceptional leader, intrinsically values-driven and motivated by our cause.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Lucy Mavers | lucy@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07947 935068

Marie McQuade | marie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07903 442646

Lucy Mavers Head of Not-for-Profit Practice Peridot Partners

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Lucy Mavers

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Welcome from the CEO and Chair of People Committee

Firstly, thank you for your interest in the role of Chair of Helen & Douglas House Children’s Hospice.

This is such a key role and will play an important part in enabling us to continue to build on our strong legacy and reputation for providing good quality care in what can only be described as a very special place. A place filled with warmth and love that provides much-needed support and care to Children and their families at the most difficult of times.

As the world’s first children’s hospice, started over 40 years ago, we are proud of our trailblazing roots and that pioneering spirit lives on.

The need for our services is ever-increasing and we remain committed to continuously looking at ways to expand our solutions and care to meet those needs and reflect the requirements of the diverse community we support.

I have been truly inspired by the passion, dedication, and compassion of our Trustees as well as our staff, volunteers and communities who all work tirelessly to create this special place. Daily my heart is touched when hearing the stories of the positive impact felt by families and children – the memories built, the support in the most challenging of times and the access to services and respite that would not otherwise be available.

These are challenging times for grant funding in the world of children’s hospices and that “extra mile” commitment and passion is serving us well in navigating that. Knowing the impact we have on the children and families makes it all the more worthwhile for us to keep our championing spirit thriving.

We would love to talk to you if you too, would like to be part of what can only be described as an exceptional cause.

Jane Long

I echo Jane’s sentiments as expressed above.

Personally, I am humbled at each of our Trustee meetings when a patient’s journey is outlined to us by the Clinical Team. It really illustrates the complexities of care we provide in the most difficult circumstances. It is of course emotionally taxing for the parents who come to Helen & Douglas House and we provide appropriate support services to the whole family as well as the child in our care.  It is the reason we all volunteer for this special charity.

As Trustees, we are ultimately responsible for the hospice and ensuring it continues to deliver on its mission and objectives. As a team, we have been lucky to have been led by Ian Blair (Lord Blair of Boughton) and benefitted from his leadership, experience, humility and support and are now looking for his replacement. The incoming Chair will inherit a financially stable organisation with a recent rating of “Outstanding” from the Care and Quality Commission.

We are fortunate to have the Queen as our patron and have close links at key times of the year e.g. Christmas. A key partnership for the Chair is with our CEO Jane, who has been in post for less than a year and is looking forward to continuing a mentor/mentee relationship with the new Chair. The Trustee Board consists of individuals with different tenures and with a range of expertise, such as retail, legal, risk, paediatric care, NHS, financial, HR and a parent who has experienced the services of Helen & Douglas House.

We have ambitious plans to improve and expand the services that we offer and make Helen & Douglas House more representative of the communities that we serve, and we are looking forward to appointing the right person for the next stage of our development.

Ian Watson
Chair of People Committee

About Helen & Douglas House

Rayyan Slatch - Photos various

Helen & Douglas House helps local families cope with the challenges of looking after a terminally ill baby or child who will die prematurely. Set in peaceful grounds, 20 minutes walk from Oxford city centre. Our hospice is a bright, happy and welcoming place where you can feel completely supported.

We support you and your child throughout their illness. We’re able to provide care wherever you choose to be, whether that’s in our Oxford hospice, at home or in a hospital with our medical and nursing team. We offer respite and discharge from hospital stays, symptom and pain management as well as end-of-life care.

We’re here to give you some much-needed practical and emotional support to help give you a break from caring responsibilities. Mums, dads, brother, sisters and grandparents will be warmly welcomed by our team. The hospice is a special place that feels homely, where families can make the most of their time together and create happy memories during their children’s short lives. When a child dies, we are there to support the whole family at this really difficult time.

Parents, brothers, sisters, and grandparents are all part of the Helen & Douglas House family. At the toughest time of their lives, we give families the time and space to enjoy the precious moments they have left with each other. In the midst of exhaustion and grief, we help them cope with their child’s final days.

Last year, we celebrated our 40th anniversary as the world’s first children’s hospice, inspiring 49 others across the UK and around the world. Over the last 40 years, the way in which we care for terminally ill children has changed considerably from a simple respite-based model to a model that often provides the most complex and complicated care. What hasn’t changed, though, is our commitment to providing compassionate care to families during the most difficult of times, and our desire to help children live the most full and precious lives possible.


Every life a full life, every death a dignified death.

Our Values

  • We are creative and resourceful.
  • We are open and honest.
  • We are committed to partnership.
  • We lead by example.
  • We are caring.

Strategic Goals

The primary goal of the new strategy is to ensure children and their families receive world class palliative care. We have developed three key aims to help us achieve this. They are:

  • We will extend our service to reach more children and families and offer a wider portfolio of care so we can provide care where and when that’s needed.
  • We will invest in our people because we recognise that all our staff, wherever they work in the organisation, play a vital role in achieving our goal.
  • We will ensure more of the money we receive is available to fund care by being more efficient about how we operate and by investing in technology.

Nathan’s story

Neve - Various photos for 2022 - Baking

Learn more about Helen & Douglas House

Accessibility information

Rayyan Slatch - Photos various

Our EDI statement


What Fairness, Respect, Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement (FREDIE) means to us:

FREDIE ensures fair treatment and opportunity for all.  It aims to eradicate prejudice and discrimination on the basis of an individual or group of individual’s protected characteristics. Helen & Douglas House celebrates the diversity of the children, young people, and families that use the palliative care services that we deliver. We believe that embedding fairness, respect, equality, diversity and inclusion in all that we do is essential to understanding and supporting our families, staff and volunteers.

Our vision

We will acknowledge, understand and tackle inequalities to achieve a more equitable, diverse and inclusive organisation by ensuring FREDIE is reflected in all that we do and how we do it.

Our commitment

Our commitment to FREDIE should underpin all that we do at Helen & Douglas House – from delivering world-class service to families with diverse needs to recruiting and retaining key people. FREDIE as a core value is increasingly important to the way in which we work, to our stakeholders, and to our ability to make real and measurable progress.  Helen & Douglas House will comply with the Equality Act 2010 and will ensure that employees understand their duties under it.

How we will meet our commitments

  • We are working with the National Centre for Diversity and we aspire to gain level 1 accreditation in Investors in Diversity
  • We will meet the Investors in Diversity Standards
  • We will collect accurate and relevant data and measure our progress
  • We have a governance framework around FREDIE which includes a steering group and an engagement group
  • We have a Trustee who is a FREDIE Champion
  • We have set targets to recruit a more diverse work force
  • We have an action plan and we are working through this
  • We will deliver FREDIE training to all our staff
  • When reviewing policies, we will ensure that FREDIE is reflected in them
Riley doing Easter Crafts

Our accessibility provisions include:

  • Step-free access to the building, all key meeting rooms and bathrooms, and an accessible workstation.
  • Accessibility dogs are welcome.
  • Interviews can be held in meeting rooms that support hearing loops.
  • Papers and materials can be presented in different formats.
  • A sign language interpreter can be accessed for interviews.
  • Working patterns and locations can be adjusted.

We provide reasonable adjustments around working patterns, and adaptive equipment (including ICT equipment & programmes).

We are currently working with Investors in Diversity Accreditation and have Disability Confident Level 2.

Applicants with a disability are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the role, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Lucy Mavers | lucy@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07947 935068

Marie McQuade | marie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07903 442646

    To access a full job description and application details,
    please fill out the form below.


    Thank you for your interest in this role. Please download the Role Description and Person Specification.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (ideally maximum 2 sides of A4 each) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification, including your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Application: Helen & Douglas House – Chair” into the subject field. You will receive an acknowledgement on receipt of your application within 2-3 days. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, please make contact with our admin team.

    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    Lucy Mavers | lucy@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07947 935068

    Marie McQuade | marie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07903 442646

    As a sector-leading executive search consultancy, we know the importance of creating recruitment processes which are fair, inclusive and free from bias. We are committed to promoting equality and diversity and developing a process that values differences.

    If you have a disability that meets the definition set out in the Equality Act 2010, and you can show that you meet the ‘essential’ criteria described in the person specification, please let us know.

    If you experience any technical or accessibility difficulties, need help making an application, or have any additional support that needs to be considered as part of the interview and selection process, please let us know.

    Recruitment selection processes are based on evidence of competence stated in the person specification and in relation to our values.


    Closing date: 9 a.m. Tuesday 9th July 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome: Thursday 18th July 2024
    Preliminary Interviews: Thursday 25th July 2024
    Shortlist decision: Friday 26th July 2024
    Informal 1:1 CEO discussions and Trustee meetings: Thursday 1st August 2024
    Final Interviews and Tour: Friday 2nd August 2024

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and Helen & Douglas House are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We will send you an equality monitoring survey at the point of receiving your application, in the interview phase and at the time of placement. This ensures that our processes remain inclusive and equitable throughout, and provides us with important data to help us showcase our impact. The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practices. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the Data Protection Act 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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