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Director of People and Engagement Walsingham Support

An opportunity to lead a step-change and achieve more for our staff and the people we support.

  • Location: National (home-based with extensive travel)
  • Closing date: 9 a.m. Monday 1st August 2022

Walsingham Support is a national charity, now in our 36th year, supporting over 426 individuals with learning disabilities, autism, brain injuries and complex needs across 100 locations in England and Wales. We pride ourselves on putting people at the heart of what we do, enabling us to deliver truly person-centered support solutions that provide independence and happiness.

Our ambition is an equal and diverse society, in which individuals with disabilities are active citizens in their own right within their communities and supported to be happy and live life to the full.

We want to continue to evolve, innovate and respond. To do this, we have recognised the need to reinforce and reshape some of our internal systems and processes, and to ensure our committed team is enabled and supported to continue to deliver and develop the exceptional personalised services we provide. We are looking to embrace all of the benefits technology can provide, build financial sustainability and ensure we look outwards and engage in influencing policy, as we have much to contribute, and insights which will enable us to influence positive change.

As our Director of People and Engagement, and member of our Executive Leadership Team, you join us at a pivotal time as we review, reinforce and consolidate to move towards our next chapter. We are ambitious to continue to make a real difference to the lives of the individuals we support, and their families, and with this guiding principle, we are excited by our future potential.

We’re looking for a leader who is equally ambitious and excited by the difference we make, can build on all we’ve achieved to date and ensure we continue to champion and raise the profile of our dedicated and passionate staff.

We are looking for a collaborative and solution-focused leader; someone who is an exceptional people leader, with previous Senior Charity Leadership experience in a relevant person-centred setting.

You will bring rigour, robustness, strength and resilience alongside the ability to lead, empower and inspire a geographically dispersed workforce. We also need you to be an experienced ambassador, able to link into external networks and represent Walsingham Support with passion and credibility.

In addition, you will have the ability to combine humility with the skills to galvanise and support our team to deliver collaboratively and innovatively, alongside having the expertise to hone and refresh our policies, operating processes and systems.

This is a role that offers you real scope, challenge and reward and the chance to enable more individuals we support to live their lives to the full.

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

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


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 Paul Snell, Chief Executive

Dear candidate,

I am delighted that you are interested in becoming the next Director of People and Engagement of Walsingham Support.

What will you find if you come and join us at this exciting time?

Walsingham Support is an ambitious and inspirational registered charity, which is over 35 years young. We currently support over 426 individuals with a range of abilities across 100 locations. We specialise in the provision of support at home and in the heart of the community and will have a turnover of about £28 million this year. Our income comes primarily from government, local authorities and individuals, and we have plans to develop our fundraising.

How have we achieved this exciting journey?

We have done this by focusing on the individuals we support to evolve services, with them at the heart of everything we do, to make their lives more enriched. At the same time, the Executive Leadership Team, in partnership with the Board of Trustees, has been supporting Walsingham Support to grow, be innovative and develop and respond to the challenges with our partners in the external environment.

Our vision and ambitions for the future?

Walsingham Support believes in delivering the highest possible quality services to as many individuals with disabilities as possible. We are highly motivated to reach even greater numbers in the future, and our aim is to become an employer of choice, capable of providing exceptional personalised services. We have ambitions to continue to develop and grow in the coming years.

Our people are key

We are very much a people-focused organisation and are committed to working in partnership with a range of key, local stakeholders to ensure that we make a real difference to individuals’ lives.

Why has this vacancy occurred now?

Liz Roe, our current Director of People and Engagement, will be moving on at the end of summer 2022, having been with us since April last year. Liz has played a key role in reshaping the People and Engagement team, establishing a focus on business partnering, employee engagement and partnership. She has also been working with other teams, alongside supporting in our overall development, and we are looking to appoint a Director of People and Engagement to build upon this and support us in delivering our strategic priorities.

You will be joining when Walsingham Support is embarking on the next stage of its transformation, and we want someone to lead the People and Engagement team to deliver our ambitions going forward. We have developed the shape of the next 3-year strategy, and our new Director of People and Engagement will be able to refine and shape this as we embark on the next stage of our journey.

We are very lucky to have a dynamic, highly committed and diverse Executive Leadership Team and Board, bringing experiences from the external world and a range of sectors. Our Executive Leadership Team and Trustees are all fully committed to the future direction of the organisation and are galvanised around our central purpose of enabling the individuals we support to lead enriched and happy lives.

What type of person will you be to come and join us?

This is a central leadership role within the organisation which will ensure, in partnership with other Directors, the Chief Executive and Board of Trustees, that we enable each of the individuals we support now, and in the future, to lead fulfilled lives, through us effectively upholding our ambition and values.

We are seeking a committed people leader who will bring the skills to enhance, develop and embed our people and engagement strategies and ways of working to ensure we continue to adapt and respond to the needs of the individuals we support, alongside being an employer of choice. We are looking for a resilient, solution-focused and creative individual who can ensure our workforce is structured and supported in the right way and encouraged to share insight and learning.

Our ideal candidate will also be creative and innovative, motivated to work with others to embed operational excellence and commercially and financially astute. As we seek to explore ways in which technology can play a bigger part in the delivery of our services, we would welcome someone who has experience of digital development and the value it can add.

You will be working with a highly capable Executive Leadership Team, and you will be most comfortable in a collaborative team where the need to balance strategic oversight with the ability to roll sleeves up will be essential.

If you want to find out more about this role where do you go next?

If this has interested you to apply, you can find out more about us on this recruitment site, where you will be able to gain a greater sense of Walsingham Support’s ethos in a much more dynamic way through our stories, rather than the words in this introductory letter.

Finally, we recognise that an important part of the recruitment and selection process for this role, is to ensure that potential applicants have a good understanding of the work of Walsingham Support and that there is a good, overall fit. The individuals we support will play an important role in choosing our Director of People and Engagement.

Thank you for your interest, and I hope that this pack inspires you to apply.

Best wishes,

Paul Snell
Chief Executive

About Walsingham Support

Walsingham Support is a charity that has been supporting individuals with learning disabilities, autism, brain injuries and complex needs across England and Wales since 1986. We pride ourselves on putting the individuals we support at the centre of everything that we do, enabling us to deliver truly person-centred support solutions that provide independence and happiness.

Our ambition

We seek an equal and diverse society, in which people with disabilities are citizens in their own right who are supported to be happy and reach their full potential.

Our values

Our values underpin our ambition – as an organisation we are:


We ensure people are at the heart of everything we do and good quality drives us in ensuring that we impact positively on individuals’ lives.


We recognise, appreciate and celebrate what everyone contributes and achieves.


We embrace innovation, positive risk taking and new ideas alongside making the best use of our skills, knowledge, experience and partnerships as we continuously develop and improve.


We value difference in everyone and are open, honest, and respectful in our engagement and communication.

Our services

We provide personalised services including supported living, residential care and transition support. Our support is tailored to the needs of the individuals we support and designed to improve life skills, strengthen relationships and encourage personal choices.

We enable each individual to develop the abilities they need to move on to the next stage in their lives, all the while ensuring their support constantly evolves and adapts around them to meet their changing needs and goals.

We focus on nurturing equal opportunities for the individuals we support within the local community through community activities, education and skills development, volunteering and supported employment.

The Participation & Involvement Group

The individuals we support are at the centre of what we do, and the Participation & Involvement Group consists of individuals we support across England and Wales. This group meets monthly to discuss issues important to them, involving their support workers, family and friends.

Additional resources

Organisation Chart

Who we are 

Statutory Accounts 2021

The 20/21 Annual Accounts contain a number of elements associated with historical accounting adjustments that spanned several historical accounting periods. The in year movement, coupled with those historical adjustments have adjusted our funds to accurately reflect the true position of the organisation, and give us a stable financial platform with which to move forward. The adjustments are fully disclosed in the notes section of the accounts, and further context can be added as needed.

Diversity and Equality Policy

Happiness Booklet


We offer the following amenities:

  • Our buildings and facilities have step-free access
  • Accessibility dogs are always welcome on our premises
  • Papers and materials can be presented in different formats if needed
  • We would be happy to source a sign language interpreter if required
  • We provide a flexible working environment, including locations

At Walsingham Support, we are committed to equal opportunities and we appreciate that everyone is different and has different access needs and we will do our utmost to make any reasonable adjustments to assist you.

Our Head Office is fully accessible and accessibility dogs are always welcome in our offices.  Papers can be presented in different formats and sign language interpreters can be sourced as required.

During the pandemic, where possible, we have supported staff to work flexibly from home to ensure they have a good work-life balance.

Walsingham Support is committed to being a diverse and inclusive organisation and we welcome applications from anyone who is passionate about our work.

If you have any further needs around accessibility or reasonable adjustments, please get in touch with the Peridot team for a confidential discussion on how we can best fulfil your needs.

Putting people at the heart

Jacob, a person we support in Ledbury, talks about his Covid-19 experience, how he’s been keeping himself busy and his hopes for 2021.

“Let’s start at the very beginning, March 2020, well no. December 2019 is when it first started; we were informed of this virus called Covid-19 originating in China, with many cases swiftly occurring. In March 2020, it had spread globally and so, we went home to our loved ones for the first national lockdown. When all of us went home, we had a big Morrisons and Aldi shop to ensure we were fully stocked for the weeks ahead.

My brother and I returned to Ledbury in September 2020 and made the most of lockdown with the help of the team at Walsingham Support by doing activities such as Gardening, Maths, English, Bushcraft and Woodwork. During all these activities, we continued to social distance. The second lockdown had us all self-isolating in our rooms for 10 days.

We had to have our meals in our rooms and be distant from one another. During Christmas, some people stayed, and others went to their family’s homes. Isolation was surprisingly ok, I found it to be a blessing in disguise. How I coped? I have no idea, but I know I’ve done brilliantly. It feels good to be out of isolation and have more freedom and although Covid-19 cases may be rising, we continue to stay safe by distancing, washing our hands and wearing our masks.

It may be the third lockdown, but we will hopefully receive our vaccines soon, 2020 has been a dramatic year but I have hope for 2021. I simply cannot wait for all this to be over.”

Staying connected

For weeks, each Thursday at 2 p.m., the people we support, some of our volunteers and Rachel, one of our dedicated Operations and Development Managers from West Cumbria, jump on Zoom to sing, build friendships and socialise. It is no secret that loneliness is an issue that deeply affects the learning disability community; research in a 2019 survey found that 24% of individuals with learning disabilities identified as feeling lonely. The arrival of Covid-19 has done nothing to combat but instead has heightened it. It’s one of the reasons that this year’s learning disability week’s theme was called ‘The Importance of Friendships During Lockdown.’

The group consists of individuals we support from across our northern services, from Middlesbrough to Carlisle. Each individual bringing along their personalities and energies to make the Zoom session what it is – a safe and fun space to socialise. Rachel has curated an online environment where the people we support feel free to be themselves; they talk to one another about their week, ask questions and get to know one another.

During this session, the group activity was karaoke. Each of the people we support had the opportunity to request a song, from ABBA to The Corrs; they sang along with each other, enjoying showing off their vocal skills. They also practised a song by Celine Dion which they’re learning in Makaton. The Zoom sessions also allow the people we support to virtually meet the people they’ve been writing to during lockdown. Additional to the Zoom sessions, Rachel also set up a pen pal system for the people we support. Each week, they write letters to each other, using a template created initially, to get the conversation going; they later learn enough about one another not to need a template.

The sessions are also attended by some of our incredible volunteers. Charlotte who was recruited by our Walsingham Support Community Solutions team for online activities joins every week. She also helps run the online well-being programme and nature watchers along with the other volunteers recruited. We’re so grateful to our volunteers who facilitate our sessions.

Involvement Group

As the pandemic continued, it became apparent that our 7th annual involvement conference normally held in October would not be able to go ahead. Together, we realised that it was more imperative than ever to find innovative ways to connect.

In order to ensure this virtual connection would be meaningful, we realised we needed to upskill the individuals we support to effectively use virtual channels; step forward to the Zoom meetings project.

Relevant support staff were asked to print off some communication cards for each group member so they could tell the meeting facilitator when they would like to talk, or when they wanted a person to slow down, speak up, and so on.  A ‘How to use Zoom’ instruction sheet and an Easy Read Guide for Using Zoom were shared by the facilitator to promote full participation from the individuals we support.

All four regional involvement groups then came together virtually and facilitated by Toni Vyse, Southern Facilitator, shared with each other an object to illustrate their activities during lockdown which others could also then try.

Based on the success of virtual meetings, it was agreed to develop a newsletter. The members of the involvement groups learned how to use the voting function on Zoom to select three topics they thought would be of most interest to their chosen audience.

As the editorial process progressed, the individuals we support developed skills in:

  • researching their chosen topics
  • making choices and having opinions
  • listening and speaking out
  • editing and proof reading
  • thinking about how others would see the work
  • learning about hosting an online event
  • giving constructive feedback, leading to confidence building for members through showcasing co-production and inclusion during an online event launching the newsletter to a wider audience which received a great response

    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 and complete this Equality Monitoring Survey.

    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 ”Director of People and Engagement– Walsingham Support” into the subject field.

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

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

    We wish to encourage applications regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, age or religion or belief.

    All applications will be considered solely on merit.

    Disabled applicants 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 job, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.

    We encourage applications from disabled candidates under the Disability Confident Scheme.


    Closing date: 9 a.m. Monday 1st August 2022
    Candidates informed of outcome: Friday 5th August 2022
    Informal staff/individual we support sessions: w/c Monday 15th August 2022 (TBC)
    First stage interviews: w/c Monday 8th August 2022 (TBC)
    Second stage interviews: w/c Monday 22nd August 2022


    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and Walsingham Support 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 would therefore be most grateful if you would complete this equality monitoring survey.

    The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practice. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the new Data Protection Act 2018 launched on 25 May 2018.

    The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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