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Volunteer Almshouse Treasurer

The Charity of Mrs Mabel Luke


Posted over 30 days ago...

Use your financial skills to help guide a charity supplying good quality well-managed housing for rent to local households of working age, providing them with the stability and security they need.


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icon Location

Newbury, RG14 5YT

icon Expires

Expires at anytime

What will you be doing?

We are looking for a Treasurer who will enjoy using financial skills to improve the life chances of low-income and disadvantaged households in the Newbury area. We are a small volunteer Board, currently 7 Directors with a wide range of skills and experience. Living in or near Newbury is important so you can visit the site, meet residents and contractors and so on.  We employ a Clerk for 15 hours per week who deals with administration and day-to-day bookkeeping, using Quickbooks. But there is much else to do – dealing with resident issues, filling vacancies, arranging repairs and servicing. Some of us can give more time to this than others. We employ local trades for maintenance and repair work, gardening and window cleaning.  The Board meets formally every 6 weeks or so, in person. Every Director also sits on at least one of the three Board  Committees covering residents, property and finance, which meet every 3 months or as needed, usually using Zoom. We may also set up smaller temporary groups: one such has just finished reviewing our website, recently re-launched (have a look!, and another is reviewing our arrangements for meeting the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulations. We are completing the transfer of all our files to Google Drive.

What are we looking for?

You will need accounting experience, of course, but the Charity's accounts are basic: total annual income is around £140k with a single income source (Weekly Maintenance Charges, the almshouse term for rent), and costs before mortgage interest of about half that. Some experience of the charitable or social housing sectors would be advantageous. We operate in a tightly-regulated environment as a Registered Provider in receipt of substantial public grant funding during the 2017/18 re-development of our estate. As our part-time Clerk uses Quickbooks, producing a set of management accounts is straightforward, though you will probably want to develop report formats. The Clerk has a debit card for the Charity's current account, so is able to pay suppliers herself after authorisation from the Chair and subject to our financial delegations schedule.  Experience of developing budgets is important, though ours are pretty straightforward. For some years after the Charity re-opened in 2018, its financial position was strong but the 2023 increases in base rate led to hefty rises in mortgage interest (our loan balance at Charity Bank is currently just over £1million) and have tightened our finances considerably. You will be key to ensuring accurate and prudent budgets; that we keep spending under control; and that the Bank is kept on-side. You will also deal with the Charity's insurances. We need to make the most of our cash reserves, currently on deposit. 5 years on from re-development, it is time to review the arrangements for both borrowings and savings - a task for our new Treasurer.  Our Board has a reasonable mix of gender and age but lacks ethnic diversity, which we are keen to improve. One director is disabled. Our Treasurer stood down at the end of 2022 to focus on her young family so we would particularly welcome female and non-white applicants so that the Board composition better reflects the characteristics of our resident households, several of whom are from ethnic minority communities or are single parents. Board experience, particularly with a charity or non-profit, would be an advantage, though certainly not essential. You need to be a team player.

What difference will you make?

Every organisation needs to balance its books and put something by for the future. A board needs to be confident that whatever its activities and plans, it will have enough in the bank to carry them through. The expertise of our Treasurer is key to our financial stability so we can continue to provide these much-needed homes to Newbury households in need of good quality affordable housing. And we need to keep Weekly Maintenance Charges - the almshouse term for rent - as low as possible. As for many in the UK at present, life is challenging for the households in Mabel Luke Place. We have permanently employed, intermittently employed, self-employed and unemployed households, many accessing Universal Credit or other benefits, some with fluctuating incomes. We don't directly provide support beyond the provision of good quality housing but we can help by directing residents to local organisations that can provide support. Inevitably, some households fall into arrears from time to time. Our Treasurer manages this pro-actively. It doesn't help residents to allow arrears to run up to unsustainable levels, so the finance role is key: spotting problems early on and collaborating with other directors to help residents through. The bottom line is: we need to make sure our housing is managed and maintained to a high standard. That gives our residents one less important thing to worry about.


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