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Treasurer Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI)

Join the board of RABI to help expand and enhance services to support the farming community not to face adversity alone.

  • Location: Oxford
  • Salary: Unremunerated
  • Closing date: Chair is CLOSED | Treasurer - Closing Soon

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution – RABI – is a national charity that provides local support to the farming community across England and Wales. Established in 1860, RABI have been offering guidance, financial support and practical care to farming people of all ages through grant support and wellbeing programmes.

Our farming communities are facing increasingly complex challenges and pressures and RABI has a crucial role to play now and, in the future, to support the wellbeing of farming people.

We are now seeing a greater demand for support from working farmers, as well as growth in awareness of mental health issues and the need to find effective ways to address these issues. There is also a growing need for support for individuals in their own home and local communities, for RABI to be available 24 hours, and a need to provide pre-emptive intervention wherever possible.

The requirements for RABI to be able to respond appropriately to secure the delivery of services and support to meet these developing needs, whilst maintaining our long-established services to both those working in agriculture and those no longer working due to age or illness, lies at the core of the changes the charity is currently undertaking.

The appointment of Alicia Chivers as Chief Executive in October 2018 and the development of an ambitious strategy in 2019 has provided the impetus to deliver transformation. This has already led to significant changes in systems, processes, staff and how RABI’s resources are organised.

Chair of the Board

With the current Chair’s term of office completing in June 2022, the Council (Board of Trustees) has an opportunity to appoint an experienced new Chair to lead the Board confidently through the next exciting stages of  the charity’s evolution. The Chair will enable the Board to keep pace with the evolution of RABI, set high expectations of Trustee and create a Board culture that will further empower the executives to deliver RABI’s ambitions.

The Board is composed of successful and supportive people from the farming community. It is also likely to need people with a wider blend of experience in farming, charities, business and governance in the future, as well as a programme of training and development to ensure that RABI can get the Board performance it needs from each and every Trustee.

Credibility and authenticity is important. The incoming Chair will need to understand the issues facing people in the agricultural sector whether they have a background in farming or agriculture or have experience working within a peripheral service such as banking, investment, insurance or wider sector support businesses. To be authentic there needs to be a clear connection and motivation to make a difference to farming people. It is also essential that the new Chair brings both industry credibility and experience of board leadership and governance.

Treasurer

For the Treasurer role, we require a qualified accountant, who will maintain an excellent relationship with the Director of Finance and be able to translate financial information into simple language for other Council members. There is a good finance team in place and an interesting challenge ahead to invest the capital proceeds of some land sales, in a way that will have the most impact. A general understanding or connection to agriculture and the pressures faced by people working in the industry would be helpful, though not essential.

Time Commitment

The Board meets four times a year (preference is for in-person meetings in Oxford, however all meetings have virtual attendance options) and we have four sub committees which usually meet three/four times a year;

  • Finance & Estates Committee,
  • Service Provision Committee,
  • Compliance and Risk Committee,
  • Homes Committee.

We have an annual AGM which coincides with our Volunteer Conference and an annual strategy away day, which is generally held across two days with a social event in the evening.

All Trustees are encouraged to attend a visit to one of RABI’s investment properties and as ambassadors for the charity, Trustees may be requested to attend events or shows throughout the year.

We expect the time commitment for the Chair to be up to 2.5 days a month and for the Treasurer to be up to 1-2 days a month. This is inclusive of preparation for meetings, reading board papers, communication with staff and trustees and attendance at events.

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

Grant Taylor on 07958 690 184 or grant@peridotpartners.co.uk

Liz Holderness on 07872 031079 or liz@peridotpartners.co.uk

Grant-Taylor-Managing-Director-Peridot-Partners

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Grant Taylor

View profile

Thank you for your interest in joining the Council of Trustees at the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI).

I feel incredibly privileged to have been selected three years ago by the Trustees to work with them to develop and lead a truly ambitious new strategic direction for the charity.  Having supported farming people for over 160 years, it took courageous Trustees to recognise that an innovative new approach was needed to ensure RABI would be able to continue to support its community as they face unprecedented generational changes.

I believe it is fundamental that our Trustees are authentic, passionate and ambitious on behalf of the people we serve, in their approach to leadership of RABI over the coming years.

Farming people face an enormous range of challenges, including fundamental change to farming policy and RABI is evolving, at pace, to ensure we are best placed to provide the relevant and impactful support that our people deserve, wherever and whenever they need it most.

At the heart of the 2019 strategy is an intent from the Trustees for RABI to extend the reach and nature of our services, so we are able to support four times as many farming people by the end of 2024 as we did in 2019.    To achieve this we are necessarily embedding transformational change across the charity, all whilst ensuring we maintain our existing established services to farming people.

The Trustee role at RABI therefore carries unique and exciting opportunities and challenges as we work through a period of change.  As ambassadors for our charity, a background in or around agriculture is important for Trustees, particularly for our Chair.  Equally however, for the Chair, experience of board or charity leadership is just as important.

Despite the impacts of Covid, RABI and the Trustees have committed to and achieved huge steps over the last three years to progress our governance and strategic development. We are now seeking a new Chair and Treasurer to take us forwards through the next stage of our journey.

If you are excited by the opportunity of becoming part of RABI’s evolution and building something exceptional on behalf of the people we serve, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Yours sincerely

Alicia Chivers

Chief Executive

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) has a proud heritage of delivering support to farming people, whenever unforeseen problems strike. With unprecedented levels of uncertainty, including the impacts on a generation of the phasing out of the Basic Payment Scheme, the work of RABI remains as vital today as when the charity was founded by Alderman John Mechi in 1860.

RABI’s objects, defined in the Royal Charter are the prevention and relief of need, hardship or distress to those who are, or have been engaged in the farming industry and their families. These aims continue to underpin the services and activities of RABI, which are articulated in the new and ambitious strategy launched in 2019.

RABI deliver support and services across England and Wales.

Context

DEFRA estimates that around 472,000 people work in commercial agriculture across the UK, including farmers, farm workers and their households.

RABI’s recent Big Farming Survey revealed that farming people are typically facing at least six significant stressful issues at any one time, all of which are likely to have impacts on both physical and mental wellbeing. Many of these remain constant: disease, extreme weather and dealing with complex regulation and paperwork. Some feel more cyclical in nature, such as labour shortages and supply chain issues.

Against this background, farming businesses must now also plan for the most significant changes in policy and support for generations. The phasing out of the Basic Payments Scheme represents a fundamental shift in farming support policy and, imminently, the incomes and lives of farming households. A changing climate and shifting food preferences present longer-term challenges following disruption experienced through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite these challenges, the survey also highlighted that the majority of farming people remain optimistic about the future. RABI’s long-term aims are to build on this optimism and help to develop a toolkit of services and support that will develop even greater resilience across the farming community and encourage people to talk to the charity before an issue becomes a problem.

In planning for the future RABI realises that the charity must continue to evolve leadership, strategy, service offer and organisational structures to ensure it is best placed to support the farming community as they deserve through the unprecedented challenges ahead.

Our Vision – no member of the farming community should have to face adversity alone.

Our Mission – We exist to provide guidance, practical care and financial support to those in need within the farming community.

Our Values:

  • Caring – We are committed to treating everyone with empathy and compassion.
  • Fair – We strive to treat everyone equally and reasonably,
  • Trust – We don’t let people down, working with honesty and openness to achieve what we have promised.
  • Respect – We value the contribution made by all and treat others as we would like to be treated, with sensitivity and without prejudice.
  • Stewardship – We take great care of the resources entrusted to us and act with integrity to maximise their use.

Strategic Aims

RABI are working to four key strategic aims:

  1. Evidence our understanding of how life’s challenges affect those who farm; using this knowledge to develop and deliver flexible and accessible programmes of support that reach more people
  2. Continue to increase awareness of our work and support programmes within the farming community.
  3. Strengthen existing relationships and develop new ways to engage with our supporters.
  4. Manage our charity as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Read more about these strategic aims in the 2019-2024 Strategy here

Further Information 

RABI Website 

Annual Report and Financial Statements – year ended 31 December 2020

5 Strategy 2019-2024 – The Foundations for Change

Council and Committee Meetings 2022

The Big Farming Survey 

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

    Grant Taylor on 07958 690 184 or grant@peridotpartners.co.uk

    Liz Holderness on 07872 031079 or liz@peridotpartners.co.uk

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    Chair – CLOSED

    Treasurer – Closing Soon

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