New Trustees required


The charity is seeking individuals who may have an interest in becoming a trustee of the charity, the Artists’ Benevolent Fund, (ABF).

The ABF is an unincorporated charity with a Royal Charter and registered with the Charity Commission, number 270585, providing charitable services in England and Wales.  The trustees are responsible for the work of the charity.

The ABF has been supporting artists for over 200 years. Today our aim is to enable artists to begin, develop or sustain a fully professional career, and we support artists and their dependants, by channelling well-considered help to them.

The ABF is seeking further trustees to join the current six trustees, with expertise in any of the following:

  • Previous experience as a trustee of an arts organisation
  • Engagement in the visual arts
  • Selection of grant applications
  • Fundraising
  • Senior personnel of universities and art colleges
  • Post graduate art students with an interest in contemporary visual arts

Noted below is some relevant background to the charity, together with details of the responsibilities of the trustees, the seven principles of Public Life to which the trustees adhere and a summary of the selection process for new trustees.

There are currently six trustees of the charity, with two retiring by rotation at the end of 2016. The charity is seeking to expand this to eight trustees. In order to balance the trustee board and to consider fresh ideas, our trustees serve for a maximum of two terms of three years.

Current board of trustees

Lisa Gee – Chair
Lisa is the Director of The Harley Foundation and Gallery, a Nottinghamshire-based charitable trust whose mission is to support the visual arts, artists and makers. Lisa has been Chair of the ABF since 2013.

Phillip Roberts – Treasurer
Phillip is a Chartered Accountant and is a partner in a family firm specialising in the financial and taxation affairs of artists and galleries throughout London and the South East. Phillip has been Treasurer of the ABF since 2009.

Richard Bagley
Richard is a solicitor and company secretary, with a keen interest in the patronage of artists in England and Wales. He is a trustee of a number of charities.

Ken Baynes
Ken began his career as a stained glass designer and has subsequently worked as a graphic designer, exhibition organiser and educationalist.

Barney Hare Duke
Barney’s work is divided between managing projects as part of A FINE LINE: cultural practice and as Artistic Director of the British Ceramics Biennial in Stoke-on-Trent.

Tessa Jackson
Tessa has over 25 years’ experience within the arts and in particular the visual arts as a curator, gallery director, writer and consultant in Britain and internationally.

All administration and finance is outsourced, with Thornton Springer as the Independent Examiners of the charity.

Funding for the ABF

The charity does not receive any funding from the Arts Council of England, but relies on donations, legacies and income from its investment portfolio.

During 2016, the ABF is continuing to provide grant funding for artists in need. The charity is seeking to extend its grant funding, to develop new partnerships with art colleges and universities, and to build its profile through collaborations with others in England and Wales. The ABF is strengthening its fundraising to make it less reliant on investment income to increase the strategic impact for artists in need.

Trustee meetings

Trustees provide their services without charge, on a voluntary basis. Trustees travel expenses are reimbursed. The trustees’ meetings are generally held in central London at the Art Workers Guild, Bloomsbury, London W1.

Trustees meetings are held three times each year, with occasional extraordinary meetings held in addition to these.   Trustees must be able to commit to preparing for and to attending the three hour meetings, and to commenting on all grant applications circulated.   Strategy away days are occasionally held in the Midlands.

There is a full induction for new trustees and appropriate training is offered through the National Council of Voluntary Organisations. 

Trustees’ roles and responsibilities

The trustees are responsible under the charity’s constitution for the management and day to day operations of the charity. The roles and responsibilities include the following:

  • To always act in the best interests of the charity
  • To ensure that the charity promotes the objects detailed in its constitution
  • To comply with the Charities Act 2011, the recommendations of the Charity Commission of England and Wales, and the governing documents of the charity
  • To promote the vision and values of the charity
  • To work in collaboration with other trustees
  • To maintain an effective board, and to ensure good administration, compliance, insurance and operational management
  • To develop new initiatives and innovation
  • To allocate grant funding
  • To promote the charity at all opportunities
  • To maintain the financial controls of the charity and ensure the resources are appropriately applied for the objects of the charity,
  • To set the investment policy, the reserves policy and the objectives for each period, and to evaluate the achievements against the objectives
  • To ensure there is accountability of all trustees
  • To develop risk assessments for all aspects of the charity’s operations.
  • To use their experience and specific skills to reach the best solutions to issues arising
  • To review all board papers in advance of meetings, and to actively participate at all meetings. Note – papers are sent in advance of meetings and all trustees review the grant funding applications prior to discussions

Attributes of the required trustees

The charity strives to maintain a board of trustees which reflects the diversity of the art community which it seeks to serve:

  • Ability and willingness to offer the time necessary to commit to the charity
  • Ability to operate well as a team member and to contribute to discussion in committees
  • Confidentiality and diplomacy
  • Commitment and enthusiasm for the visual arts
  • Acknowledgement of the role and responsibilities and liabilities of the trusteeship of a charity
  • Impartiality, courage and ability to speak their mind
  • Commitment to equality and diversity in all areas
  • Creative thinking
  • Good and independent judgement
  • Passion for and commitment to the arts
  • Strategic vision
  • Commitment to the seven principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership
  • A commitment to equality and diversity

It is not possible to be a trustee if you have unspent convictions, if you are declared bankrupt or have an individual voluntary arrangement, if you have previously been removed as a trustee or if you are disqualified or barred from acting as a trustee of this charity under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.

The seven principles of public life

Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.

Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.

In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.

Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.

Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.

Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

Thank you for your interest in the ABF. 

If you would like to discuss the possibility of becoming a trustee with the Chair of Trustees, please contact the secretary on

Apply now

Selection Process

The selection process involves an initial discussion about the role with a number of trustees, completion of an application pack, with an invitation to attend as an observer at a charity trustees’ meeting if the trustees consider this to be appropriate.

If the trustees seek to take the application further, you will be invited for an interview with the trustees who will make the final decision.

Please includes Dates (From and To), University / College / Employment and the Qualification / Position Held

Please includes Dates (From and To), Charity and the Position Held and Nature of Role

  • Why you want to become a board member of ABF?
  • What specific skills, qualifications and experience would you bring to ABF?
  • Please give any other information which you feel would support your application.

Include Name of the professional bodies and the level of membership.

Please give details of any business or other interests which might give rise to conflict of interest. How you would address this issue should you be successful in your application?

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I confirm that I have read this application fully. I understand that failure to give the correct information could lead, if appointed, to dismissal as a trustee.