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Trustee The Nationwide Foundation

Do you believe in a future where everyone in the UK has a place they can call home? We are looking for a new trustee to join us in our work to tackle the UK’s housing crisis. If you feel passionate about this cause and have senior level business experience, do apply to join the board of The Nationwide Foundation.

  • Location: London/Swindon
  • Salary: Unremunerated with reasonable expenses paid

About the role

The Nationwide Foundation is an independent charity that is committed to addressing the root causes of social issues.

The lack of decent, affordable housing is one of the most pressing social problems facing the UK today, and the root cause of many negative social outcomes. It causes harm to individuals and families, as well as to communities and society.

The Nationwide Foundation’s Decent Affordable Homes strategy aims to tackle the embedded and systemic causes of the UK’s housing crisis. And since 2013 when we launched this strategy, we have been supporting charitable work that tests and evidences solutions to influence positive change in policy and practice that leads to increasing the availability of decent and affordable homes for people in need. We do this by funding the right charitable causes and engaging with experts, academics, policymakers and frontline staff to ensure we have the knowledge, expertise and tools to make a real difference.

Grant-making is the Nationwide Foundation’s core activity, however we are intensely aware that we have a responsibility to use all our resources, not just our money, to contribute to the change we want to see.

We are governed by a board of ten trustees that is responsible for the work that we do and how we do it, including shaping, driving and overseeing the delivery of our strategy. We also have a dedicated, professional team of eight staff and alongside the trustees they are committed to and passionate about our work to deliver social change.

The board is chaired by Dr Saphié Ashtiany, and vice-chair, Sarah Mitchell and collectively the trustees have a broad mix of skills which draw on their experiences in the voluntary and commercial sectors. The board provides the chief executive and the staff team with the right balance of support and oversight to deliver an ambitious and impact focussed strategy that addresses some of the most embedded social issues in the UK.

There are two sub-committees for which the membership is drawn from the board. These are finance and risk, and nominations and remunerations.

Trustees serve a three-year term and can serve a maximum of three terms. Board meetings are usually held four times a year, plus an annual strategic away day. Sub-committees meet up to three times per year.

Board and committee meetings take place in person and virtually, with in-person meetings typically held in Swindon or London. Outside of board and committee meetings, staff may seek to consult with trustees on particular subjects and there are opportunities to attend project visits, meetings and events related to the Decent Affordable Homes strategy.

The Nationwide Foundation is funded by Nationwide Building Society and receives an annual unrestricted donation based on a percentage of Nationwide’s profits. Nationwide and the Nationwide Foundation have a very positive relationship that is based on mutual respect.

The Nationwide Foundation is a registered charity (no. 1065552) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 3451979).

Who we are looking for

First and foremost, we are looking for someone who shares our values and believes in the importance of ensuring that everyone in the UK has access to a decent home that they can afford.

We believe that the embedded and systemic causes of the UK’s housing crisis can be challenged, and that the Nationwide Foundation can play a part in making those changes happen. We are seeking a new trustee who recognises that effective solutions will take time to be realised, and who understands that dedication, conviction, and courage are needed to bring about change. At the same time, incremental progress is important to us, and we are proud of every step we take towards making our vision a reality.

We are keen to hear from candidates with substantial senior level business experience who are accustomed to working in complex and ever-changing environments.

We expect that the successful candidate will also be appointed to sit on the Finance & Risk sub-committee. With this additional commitment and responsibility in mind, our new trustee will have an understanding of financial reporting. Knowledge of charity finances would be welcome, but is not essential.

We expect everyone on the board to prepare in detail for meetings, think deeply about the issues at hand, be open and willing to consider different perspectives, and to challenge respectfully, as and when appropriate. Ultimately, we work towards achieving consensus following thorough discussion.

If you would like to join a board that is engaged, thoughtful, collaborative, and seeking to make a positive difference on an important issue that affects so many, this is an excellent opportunity to consider.

Closing date: Monday 7th February 2022

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

Dr Jenn Allen | jenn@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07739 364034

Liz Holderness | liz@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07872 031079

Dr Jenn Allen, Business Manager, Not for Profit, Peridot Partners

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Dr Jenn Allen

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Thank you for your interest in joining our board as trustee of the Nationwide Foundation.

At the heart of the Nationwide Foundation is a commitment to tackling the root causes of social disadvantage and inequality. To do this we support and enable remarkable organisations and people that share our drive for finding ways to create long-term change. We also know that as well as funding others, we have a responsibility to take an active role in making that change happen.

In 2013, we decided to focus on housing and launched our Decent Affordable Homes strategy to address the lack of decent and affordable homes for people in need. This is a strategy that is about people, families and communities and one that we are committed to until at least 2031 in recognition of the complexity and severity of the housing crisis and its impacts.

We are now seeking a new trustee to join the board in leading the Foundation’s strategic direction, financial management and governance. We are looking for a skilled trustee who brings corporate experience, alongside a strong belief in social justice and the power of charities. Our new trustee will have a strategic outlook and the personal credibility to contribute as part of an engaged and forward-thinking board.

If you are passionate about change that will improve people’s lives, have the experience we are looking for, and are interested in joining the board of the Nationwide Foundation, we very much look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Dr Saphié Ashtiany

Chair of the Board

The Nationwide Foundation is a charitable foundation set up in 1997. It is funded by, but independent of, Nationwide Building Society. We support charitable work across the UK and have awarded over £40 million in grants to more than 3,000 charitable causes.

Our charitable objects are broad, meaning we can fund any work that is charitable in law, and over the years we have supported a wide range of activities. We are committed to supporting work that will address the root causes of a social problem: this is done by setting funding criteria that is based on research, evaluation and thorough stakeholder engagement.

Our staff and trustees strive to live and breathe the following values in all the work that they do:

  • We work with integrity
  • We value and respect others
  • We strive to continuously improve
  • More can be achieved when we work together
  • If we change nothing, then nothing will change

We aim to be at the forefront of good grant-making practice, and constantly challenge ourselves to learn and improve. We regularly work with independent evaluation and learning partners which constantly informs what we do next and how we do it.

We also know that we are not a bystander; as a charity, we must use all the resources we have available to us, not just funding, to achieve the changes we want to see and we seek to add value by playing an active role in influencing change. This involves working closely and collaboratively with those that we fund and wider stakeholders.

The board is made up of ten trustees that bring a broad range of skills and expertise. Seven trustees are appointed by the board, and three are appointed by Nationwide Building Society. All trustees act independently in the best interests of the charity.

The Nationwide Foundation is a registered charity (no. 1065552) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 3451979).

Relationship with Nationwide Building Society

The Foundation was established in 1997 by Nationwide Building Society as an independent charity and company limited by guarantee. The Foundation is a separate legal entity from Nationwide and is not part of the Nationwide Group.

From November 1997, all new customers of the Society have to become a member of the Foundation and assign to the Foundation their rights to any future conversion benefits in the unlikely event of a conversion or take-over of the Society. For more information visit the Charitable Assignment page on the Foundation’s website.

Nationwide Building Society makes an annual lump sum donation of 0.25% of pre-tax profit to the Foundation and also supports the Foundation through in-kind donations of office space and equipment.

Our relationship with our funder, Nationwide Building Society, is extremely important to us, as is our independence. We have a healthy and respectful working relationship with our benefactor and our strategy is aligned, but distinct, from Nationwide’s work.

Our vision is for everyone in the UK to have access to a decent home that they can afford.

The UK is experiencing a serious housing problem and the poor conditions, lack of security and high cost of housing have far-reaching impacts on the quality of people’s lives. Housing issues can exacerbate the impact of poverty and lead to negative social outcomes such as poor health and wellbeing, reduced employability and educational attainment. In the current environment, people who are vulnerable are most deeply affected by these impacts and are often least able to improve their situations.

Through our Decent Affordable Homes strategy, we seek to improve the lives of people who are disadvantaged because of their housing circumstances by using a systems change approach. Our aim is to increase the availability of decent, affordable homes for people in housing need.

Launched in 2013, and running until at least 2031, the Decent Affordable Homes strategy is now in its third phase.

How we make positive changes

We influence changes to the housing system by supporting, testing and evidencing solutions that increase the availability of decent affordable homes for people in need. We want to make a positive change to policy and practice by funding the right charitable causes. Our approach means that we provide and use evidence to create the conditions for change and to persuade key change-makers.

Phase three of our Decent Affordable Homes strategy began in 2021 and is structured to ensure that the work that we started in phase two can be completed and the evidence used to influence changes to our housing system.

Evidence-led solutions

To be able to influence for change, we need robust evidence of solutions and how they can be applied. Therefore, we use our funding to test promising ideas and build evidence of solutions to change our housing system. Part of our approach is to enable and facilitate projects so that they’re given the time and space they need to learn and create quality evidence.

Just as important as generating quality evidence is using it wisely. We invest in ensuring that learning and knowledge is used to influence policy and practice. This means that solutions are noticed and welcomed by people and organisations who can take action to change the housing system for the better.

Our work to generate and use evidence is structured across three programmes.

Understanding how the housing system works

A new aspect of our strategy in phase three is the introduction of a strategic stream of work to truly understand how the housing system works – and how it fails – and most importantly, how it can be transformed.

We will collaborate with organisations that share our aims and approach to produce two valuable outputs:

  1. A map of the housing system to identify leverage points for systemic change. With decent, affordable housing at the centre, the map will provide knowledge of how this complex system works – how the different parts interact, cause and effect within the system and where the levers for change are.
  2. A framework for systems change. The knowledge that the mapping brings provides an opportunity to for a collaborative approach to effecting change.

Across all our work, we believe in the importance of connecting and collaborating

We believe collaboration and the power of the collective are vital ingredients in systems change.

We have an opportunity to play a role in facilitating and enabling the power of the collective through our ability to convene and making important connections.  This collaborative approach means working with a broad range of stakeholders who share our vision, including charitable organisation, housing stakeholders, key opinion-formers, parliamentarians, policymakers and Nationwide.

The strategy is split into delivery phases; and using the lessons we’ve learnt along the way, the strategy has matured and evolved and is now in its third phase.

Phase One (2013-16)

In phase one we ran three programmes, which developed our early knowledge of how to deliver change to UK housing. Our three programmes were:

  • Bringing Empty Properties into Use
  • Improving the Private Rented Sector
  • Alternative Housing Models

Notable among the learning from phase one was an appreciation of the contribution and potential of community-led housing; an awareness of the depth of complexity and problems facing tenants in the private rented sector; and an appetite to test and learn new solutions.

Phase Two (2016-21)

Using the insight from phase one, in 2016 we decided that phase two should be a deliberate shift towards influencing changes to the housing system to tackle the dire lack of decent, affordable homes.

With systemic change front of mind, our funding and our actions were all undertaken with a belief that each could be a small but important step towards a potentially larger contribution to changing the housing system.

During this phase, we developed three programmes which evolved from their predecessors in phase one. The success and relevance of these programmes mean they have remained in place in phase three:

  • Nurturing Ideas to Change the Housing System
  • Backing Community-Led Housing
  • Transforming the Private Rented Sector

Phase Three (2021-2024)

We have come a long way since 2016. We have greater knowledge, confidence, skills and understanding of what needs to happen to change the housing system, and how we can meaningfully contribute.

We are now working in phase three and have retained the programmes from phase two, as their outcomes are still highly relevant and important. Therefore, we are continuing to generate evidence and also using it to effectively influence for change. In deciding our strategy, we were certain that funded work should be given the time and opportunity to fulfil its potential.

Beyond phase three

We are committed to our Decent Affordable Homes strategy until at least 2031, and it is likely that this will be extended. We know that systemic change to the housing system will take persistence and patience. It will be many years until we see the big changes that we ultimately seek, so we are getting the right stepping stones in place along the journey to allow us to reach our final destination. We have a strong faith in the importance of the work we do and the immense positive impact it could have on future generations.

We, at The Nationwide Foundation, understand that different members of the community have different access needs, and have made some modifications to the way we do business in order to accommodate people from diverse communities and abilities. 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 provide a flexible working environment, including locations

If you have any further needs around accessibility, please get in touch with the advising consultants for a confidential chat on how we can best fulfil your needs.

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    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 “Nationwide Foundation – Trustee” into the subject field.

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

    Dr Jenn Allen | jenn@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07739 364034

    Liz Holderness | liz@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07872 031079

    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.


    Closing date: Monday 7th February 2022

    Candidates informed of outcome: Tuesday 15 February 2022

    First Stage Interviews: Tuesday 22nd February 2022 and Wednesday 23rd February 2022

    Second Stage Interviews: Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th March 2022






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