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Trustee role on the Board of Governors

Trustee role on the Board of Governors 

Applications are invited from those interested in becoming a Governor (Trustee) of the British Institute of Florence. The Institute is keen to build a diverse and dynamic Board, and is looking for Governors from diverse communities with an affection for Florence, and practical experience in development and fundraising (top priority) …  and/or English language teaching   …  and/or technical skills in finance, law, administration or marketing.

The Governors donate their time (no remuneration); agreed expenses can be reimbursed.

 

The British Institute of Florence

Founded in Florence in 1917 by a committee composed of the leaders of the ‘English Colony at Florence’ and their Florentine friends , the British Institute offers residents of Florence and international visitors outstanding opportunities for personal enrichment through participation in educational, cultural and social activities.

For the Florentines il British is the place to learn English and to engage with UK culture. 

For international residents and visitors we are positioned as Florence’s international cultural centre, offering excellent courses in History of Art, and the Italian language, plus a rich programme of cultural and social events in our beautiful heritage Library, overlooking the river Arno. It is the perfect place for visitors and new residents who wish to meet people, get involved and find the inside track to Florentine history, art, language and life. The Institute is a fine legacy of the Grand Tour, a high quality alternative to the mass tourism that engulfs Florence.

For local and international organisations, the Institute offers wonderful rooms in our historic palazzo in the centro storico of Florence for their own events – conferences, study abroad programmes, meetings, presentations, performances, training events, screenings, receptions etc. etc.

The British Institute of Florence is an independent non-profit charity, registered in England.  It receive no public funding whatsoever, relying on fundraising to supplement the revenue earned from its activities

 

The Institute in 2023

The last four years has seen a lot of change as we have repositioned ourselves properly for the 21st century and, by extension, built a more sustainable business model.  The main features of this change are:

  • We have moved our English Language school (which accounts for c.75% of turnover) to new premises, which give a better learning environment, are more convenient for most of our customers and yield a useful saving on rent.
  • We have flipped the model for the Library, which is now primarily a space for educational, cultural and social programmes and events, supported by the Collection, which creates the unique environment and still functions for those who still wish to consult it and borrow items.
  • The significant increase in educational programmes and cultural events delivered in the Library has attracted many more people to the Institute and generated an important new revenue stream.  The place is now buzzing. 
  • We have extended our global audience by remote teaching and hybrid live/on-line events, via videoconferencing – the big gain from the pandemic!
  • We are continuously upgrading our marketing and customer service to enhance our powerful trust brand and gain/retain more customers.
  • We are revamping our approach to fundraising, with encouraging early results.
  • With the generous support of one of our patrons, we are currently building a new programme to enable disadvantaged young people in Florence to learn English – a skill that can transform their life chances.

 

All in, the British Institute of Florence is thriving, with a renewed energy under the leadership of our Director, Simon Gammell, who started in late 2018.  The next three years will focus on consolidating the changes outlined above to increase revenues (whilst continuing to rigorously control costs) to achieve reliable financial stability as we continue to deliver on our cultural and educational mission. 

 

The Board of Governors

The Governors are the Trustees of the Institute, with a legal responsibility for ensuring that it is properly run, solvent and compliant with all legal requirements.  The Director reports to the Board of Governors.  The Governors have the opportunity to work closely with the Institute’s senior management, offering advice, scrutiny and support.

The Board of Governors is currently chaired by Christopher Prentice, formerly the British Ambassador in Rome.  As well as elected members, the Board has the following people as ex-officio members:  The British Ambassador in Rome (honorary President), the Director of the British Council in Italy, and the Rector of the University of Florence.  There are also representatives of the British Academy and Universities UK.  These organisations are clearly important stakeholders for the Institute, but none of them have any financial involvement.  The rest of the Board is drawn from residents of both UK and Florence, and a diverse mix of profile, experience and skills is sought.  Currently there are 13 Governors plus one honorary Life Governor.  The number of Governors may increase to round out the balance that is sought.

As a small independent non-profit, the Institute needs to raise about E.150K per annum to break even.  There is also a medium term ambition to establish an Endowment of sufficient size to secure the future – too often the Institute has found itself in serious financial peril.  So applications to become a Governor will be particularly welcome from people with practical experience in the development and fundraising area.  It is a priority to strengthen the capacity of the Board to support management in this vital strategic area.

The Institute is committed to equal opportunities and values diversity at all levels. Applications are sought from people who have an interest in becoming involved with the Institute as a Governor, including those from minority ethnic groups as well as those under 45 years of age, two groups which are currently under-represented on the Board. 

 

Time commitment 

The Board of Governors normally meets twice a year for half a day, face to face in Florence.   Travel and accommodation for these meetings is reimbursed. Papers for each meeting are typically sent out a week in advance of the meeting, so Governors have time to review them. There may also be some committee work and attendance at fundraising and other events.   

 

How to apply 

Applicants should send a CV and covering letter explaining how the applicant believes their skills and experience match the requirements of the role. Applicants should also supply the names, addresses, phone number and e-mail address of two referees, but referees will only be contacted if the applicant is shortlisted. Both should be in the form of a pdf or Word document and should be sent to  director@britishinstitute.it

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