SAFE was formed in 1997 as a support group because no other service was available to parents or adults with Asperger Syndrome in Essex or its unitary authorities. This is still the situation nearly 20 years on.

SAFE aims to raise awareness of Asperger syndrome; provide support for individuals and families living with Asperger syndrome; share information in order to raise the quality of care and understanding within our communities, and develop services for people and families affected by Asperger syndrome. Since SAFE was formed, hundreds have made contact and many find that talking to others with Asperger syndrome and their families, sharing experiences and feelings, helps them to cope.

SAFE provides a vital network of support for its membership of over 200 families through monthly meetings and organises a variety of projects including SAFE STUFF (Social Training Using Fun & Friendship)

– a Saturday morning club for our younger group of children aged 8-12 years that uses activities as a way of learning concrete skills in social interaction, team building and being part of a group; SAFE Youth Groups – for children ages 13+, regular clubs where teenagers can meet and socialise and take part in a wide range of activities; and ASAP (Asperger Syndrome – Adults and Parents) – our adult group aged 17+ which meets regularly to find out about independent living, supported employment and training, and organises social events to enable social interaction, friendships and relationships.

Our activities are funded through memberships, donations, and grants from trusts and foundations and local authorities. At present, we do not have any permanent staff members. We have a freelance Development Worker, Andrea Walter, and Clare Hudson is a freelance project leader for SAFE STUFF. Members volunteer to run all of our other activities including the creation and distribution of our monthly newsletters.

Chair of SAFE Appointment Opportunity

We are seeking to appoint a Chair of the Executive Committee (Board), with a passionate concern for championing on behalf of the autistic spectrum community and a commitment to develop SAFE. This is a voluntary role but reasonable expenses to undertake tasks will be reimbursed. In special circumstances, to be approved by the Executive, members may receive remuneration for undertaking specific services in addition to expenses. The remuneration must be below normal market value for similar services and only for very specific periods of time..

The term of office is currently being held by Peter Neale who wishes to step down before next year’s AGM in October 2018. A period of handover will take place prior to October 2018, commencing from January 2018.

The Chair will be expected to:

  • Prepare and chair the meetings
  • Take responsibility for ensuring the Executive Committee delivers its actions
  • Support and monitor the work of any paid freelance post holders
  • Represent SAFE in a variety of ways
  • Ensure that SAFE operates in accordance with Charity Law
  • Become an individual member of SAFE (annual membership is £20) in accordance with SAFE’s Constitution for Executive Membership.

Person specification

SAFE is looking for someone with prior experience of committee/trustee work and a wider involvement within the voluntary sector. You will be excited at the prospect of helping to develop SAFE’s profile, capacity and sustainability and demonstrate a commitment to the goals, objectives and activities of SAFE.

You will have an ability to lead discussions in such a way as to tackle and resolve difficult issues, as well as the capacity to delegate and involve other Executive Committee members, encouraging active participation across the Executive.

You will have experience of networking and a willingness to bring or support new connections and relationships to SAFE, while also facilitating the development of opportunities for income generation and partnerships.

You will demonstrate the following:

  • Wide and strategic leadership experience in enabling organisations to grow
  • Wide knowledge and interest in voluntary organisations, particularly those addressing social issues
  • Wide knowledge and interest in diversity, equality and inclusion
  • Track record of strong leadership of a committed and active board and successful organisation
  • Stature, integrity and skills necessary to act as a powerful ambassador the SAFE in any forum
  • Excellent communication skills across a range of stakeholders, partners and audiences
  • Sufficient time to devote to the role

Statutory duties of Trustees of Charities

Successful candidates must be competent to fulfil the statutory duties of Chair of the Executive as described below:

  • To ensure that the organisation complies with its governing document, charity law, company law and any other relevant legislation or regulations
  • To ensure the organisation pursues its objects as defined in its governing document
  • To ensure the organisation uses its resources exclusively in pursuance of its objects: the organisation must not spend money on activities which are not included in its own objects, no matter how worthwhile or charitable those activities are
  • To contribute actively to the Executive Committees’ role in giving firm strategic direction to the organisation, setting overall policy, defining goals and setting targets and evaluation performance against agreed targets
  • To safeguard the good name and values of the organisation
  • To ensure the effective and efficient administration of the organisation
  • To ensure the financial stability of the organisation
  • To protect and manage the property of the charity and to ensure the proper investment of the charity’s funds
  • If the organisation employs staff, to appoint the chief executive officer and monitor his/her performance

Further details about statutory duties of trustees is available at www.ncvo-vol.org.uk

The recruitment process

We wish to secure a wide field of candidates and will offer induction and ongoing support to our Chair in his/her important role.

Application is by letter and CV sent to fernclive@pottershome.co.uk  For further information about SAFE please visit our website: www.safeessex.org.uk

If you wish for a discussion about this role please contact Peter Neale by email petergneale@gmail.com

SAFE is recruiting for a SAFE STUFF Project Co-ordinator

SAFE STUFF (Social Training Using Fun & Friendship), a social skills activity programme for young children with Asperger Syndrome aged 7-12 years, has been led for the past 13 years by Clare Hudson. Clare will be stepping down at the end of the summer so SAFE is in need of a new Project Co-ordinator to run this highly successful project. SAFE STUFF is aimed to help young people with Asperger Syndrome develop social skills that will enhance their ability to lead more independent lives in the community.

SAFE STUFF is for our younger group of children with Asperger Syndrome. Every week up to 25 children have been using a variety of art forms visiting places such as museums, or taking part in special workshops such as making pottery, or food to eat, or experiencing sports activities and nature walks, as a way of learning concrete skills in social interaction, team building and being in a group. Now in its 13th year, hundreds of children have benefited with parents commenting on how well their children have learned how to interact and form new friendships. The children gain new confidence to pursue other interests that have sometimes led to further studies and career options.

From a parent of a 13 year old son…

My son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome when he was 7 years old. It was at this time that I became a member of SAFE via a recommendation from someone at his school. He became a regular attendee at SAFE STUFF, our Saturday morning club for 7-12 year olds. Being part of this group has given him a social life, responsibility and has done wonders for his confidence as a whole. He is still attending SAFE STUFF four years later… and has also started attending SAFE’s Youth Group in Southend as well…

 

From a parent of a 11 year old son

My son was diagnosed with Aspergers when he was 8 years old and we joined SAFE after receiving a leaflet from his school. We have attended SAFE STUFF nearly every Saturday morning for the past three years which is a brilliant club for 7-12 year olds. Jonathan has made some good friends and done some amazing activities which I never thought he would have the confidence or courage to do. … I personally have also made some amazing friends who have helped me through some tough times living with a child with Aspergers as only fellow parents can truly understand.

This is a wonderful freelance opportunity for anyone with creative, project co-ordination experience, or a passion for leading activities for young people and an understanding of working with people on the autistic spectrum.

The role offers a fixed fee of £1,500 for services for SAFE STUFF including booking activities, contacting families, writing articles and reports, and supervising sessions. An additional (up to) £150 is also offered for out-of-pocket expenses. Activities take place around the county of Essex on Saturday mornings (from 10am-12pm) between September and June.

For more information about how to apply or for more details, please contact Fern Potter at info@safeessex.org.uk