Arts that matter in places that matter

Villages in Action is Recruiting Trustees

About us

Villages in Action (ViA) is a charity that has, for nearly 30 years, brought high quality professional performing arts events to communities in Devon, as part of a national rural arts touring network. We continue to work with many local volunteers to select and present theatre, music, dance and more, right in the heart of our communities.

With community gatherings on hold, we are currently running a pilot digital programme with a social prescribing partner, to test the delivery of arts activity directly into people’s homes. Started before the Covid-19 pandemic, this is now attracting a good deal of interest and we hope to develop the work more widely.

For the last 3 years the work of Villages in Action has been managed by Creative Kernow, the charity that runs Carn to Cove, our neighbouring rural touring scheme in Cornwall. We are now at a pivotal moment in our development, looking to the future to ensure the long-term sustainability of arts-led activities in rural communities in Devon, and we’re excited about the opportunities that a period of reflection and partnership working has provided.

As part of that process of reflection and realignment for the future, we are now in a position to recruit some new board members to help us to develop and deliver an ambitious and relevant plan of activity.

By empowering communities to develop, organise and sustain their own cultural activity we aim to:

  • act as an agency to enhance the quality of life of all members of those communities
  • reduce social isolation
  • build up a sense of enterprise and self-confidence
  • address other issues of relevance to our communities through specific, time-limited projects.

Villages in Action is a registered charity and limited company, governed by a board of unpaid trustees, currently receiving funds from Arts Council England, East Devon District Council and Teignbridge District Council., with recent project funding from Devon County Council.

Our work mostly takes place in the Council areas of Teignbridge, East, West and Mid Devon and South Hams.

The role of Trustee

The trustees are responsible for the overall control and direction of the organisation in two main areas: support and accountability. The role of the Board is to provide entrepreneurial and strategic leadership to steer a renewed way of working in pursuit of the organisation’s objectives, and prudent and effective control including the assessment and management of risk.

There are some areas of specialist expertise that we are particularly keen to have represented on the board, in order to strengthen these aspects of Village in Action’s delivery, but we are much more interested in your experience, knowledge and commitment than your formal qualifications:

  • Access/Inclusion – personal/professional insight into how cultural organisations can address barriers to participation/engagement.
  • Arts in education and work with young people including skills training
  • Fundraising – a track record of income generation within the cultural/charity sector.
  • Health & Safety – the knowledge/confidence to advise the Board and support the Management Team as we develop this important area of our practice.
  • Legal – the professional knowledge to guide the Board in its legal responsibilities, with a specific focus on partnerships and employment.
  • Marketing – direct experience of developing brands and building audiences, particularly within the arts/ cultural/charity sector.
  • Theatre/Live Performance/Creative – professional experience of working across the UK Theatre industry, with artistic practice and/or producing an advantage.
  • Representation of potential partner organisations with a non-arts focus such as the environment, health, digital audience development. There will be others, they may have a Devon-based or a wider focus.

The duties of a Trustee are:

  • To ensure that Villages in Action complies with its governing document (Memorandum and Articles of Association), charity law, company law and any other relevant legislation or regulations.
  • To contribute actively to the board of trustees by giving firm strategic direction to Villages in Action setting overall mission, vision and values, defining goals, setting targets and policies, and evaluating performance against agreed targets.
  • To ensure the financial stability of Villages in Action, maintain proper fiscal oversight and ensure sufficient resources are secured to fulfil the charity’s mission.
  • To ensure that controls and reporting systems are robust.
  • To review and monitor risks.
  • To safeguard and promote the values of Villages in Action enhancing its reputation, and ensuring transparency and accountability in the organisation’s activities.
  • To actively contribute to Board recruitment, development and review and succession planning.
  • To respect the role of staff.
  • To maintain confidentiality of Board business.
  • To declare any potential conflicts of interest at the earliest opportunity.
  • To attend all board meetings, except when absence is unavoidable.
  • To engage fully in the charity’s work, including attendance at performances/events and, on occasion, to formally represent the charity on behalf of board and staff.


The roles are unpaid voluntary positions. Travel expenses to board meetings will be provided where appropriate. The position will normally be for a three-year term, ideally commencing from Summer/ Autumn 2020. Elections/re-elections take place annually at our December AGM.

Board members are expected to attend a minimum of 4 board meetings per year and to participate in the work and promotion of the organisation between board meetings where possible, attending performances and events as well as being an ambassador for Villages in Action.

Each trustee brings a unique range of skills and experience, and we encourage people from all backgrounds and with all levels of experience to apply.


We are seeking people with a range of experience as well as the skills, knowledge and commitment to support our existing work and to ensure that our board represents the widely varied communities that we try to serve.  We think that the best organisations have a diversity of voices, so we’d like to hear from anyone regardless of their race, gender, disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation or age. 

The organisation strongly supports continuing professional development for both staff and volunteers. Trustees may benefit from mentor support if it was mutually felt to be beneficial. In addition, Board members are expected to attend a Board Away day once each year, the content for which to be decided by the members in advance.

How to Apply

If you are interested in joining the board of Villages in Action, please download and tick the relevant boxes in Trustee Skills List, and send along with a cover letter/email outlining your interest and experience in no more than 2 sides of A4.

We shall be looking for a range of different skills, and do not expect you to be able to tick all the boxes!

Please send your completed application to:

By 12 noon, Tuesday 23 June 2020, with interviews during the week commencing 29 June 2020.

Please note that all our meetings are currently being held on line because of the Covid-19 situation.  We will be keeping this under review as lockdown regulations evolve over the next few weeks and interviews may also need to be done remotely. 

For an informal conversation about the role, please contact the Chair of Villages in Action, Catherine Devenish, on 07977 502246.

© 2021 Villages in Action.