Pilgrimage – journeying with purpose on foot to special places – was once Britain’s most popular expression of leisure and spirituality, enjoyed by all levels of society. Today, there is a global renaissance of pilgrimage – 350,000 pilgrims walk the Camino to Santiago each year, 2.5 million make the Hajj, 25+ million the Arba’een and 50 million the Kumbh Mela.
The tradition in Britain was brought to an abrupt end in 1538, when Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell banned pilgrimage. But now, also in Britain there is a renaissance of this practice that can add meaning and purpose to many people’s lives, nurture our relationship with the land, and improve physical and emotional wellbeing. Our vision is that pilgrimage is accessible to as many people as possible, reconnecting them with an ancient tradition in a modern way. To achieve this, we promote pilgrimage as a practice that is Open to All, whatever someone’s beliefs, background, age or physical ability.
Our mission is to help build routes, infrastructure and support for pilgrimage all around Britain; create a community to support the work of the BPT and other organisations across the country by supporting them in return; communicate to create understanding, awareness and involvement; and thereby make the practice of pilgrimage popular, with strong participation across Britain.
In greater detail this means we will establish ‘on the ground’ physical infrastructure to form the basis of pilgrimage activity – communal buildings for low-cost accommodation that we term ‘Sanctuary’, equipment, physical objects like passport stamps, and local buy-in, particularly with our flagship projects, Old Way from Southampton to Canterbury and Way of Saints Aidan and David from Ferns Abbey, Wexford to St Davids Cathedral, Pembrokeshire. More generally, much of the core physical infrastructure is already in place – off-road footpaths, under-used churches, pubs and village shops. We simply need to join the dots… We engage with our digital and on-the-ground communities in the press, through our book ‘Britain’s Pilgrim Places’ and through our website. Finally, and most importantly, we actively go out to get people engaged with the practice of making pilgrimage on the ground.
The BPT is an organisation with an important purpose and huge potential. We are a Charitable Incorporated Organisation with an experienced group of trustees, with strong legal, financial and fundraising skills. Our executive team is led by co-founder Guy Hayward, and Dawn Champion, project leader. Our Chair, Peter Gangsted, having shepherded the charity in this role since 2017, is stepping down now that he he has moved abroad. Consequently, we are now advertising the following role.
The Chair is responsible for leading the Board and focusing it on strategic matters, overseeing the Charity’s activities, fundraising, and setting high governance standards. They play a pivotal role in fostering the effectiveness of the Board and individual Trustees, both inside and outside the board room. The Chair will have the Managing Director of the Charity reporting to them and is responsible for both ensuring effective communication by the Board with the Charity’s management team and that the management team performs as expected.
The Chair will:
- Lead productive Board meetings and create the necessary conditions for the overall Board, individual Trustees, and the Management team to operate most effectively, both inside and outside the board meetings,
- Provide effective leadership and mentoring for the Managing Director who reports directly to the Chairman and ensure effective communication in the Board and with the Management Team, whilst being available to support the team solve issues as they may arise,
- Lead strategically, inspiring and challenging the Board and the Management Team to continuously deliver ambitious well-considered objectives for the Charity so that the BPT remains a leader in supporting the growth of pilgrimage in Britain,
- Oversee the Charity’s work and ensure optimal deployment of its human and financial resources,
- Provide leadership in raising the necessary funds, and in networking for partnerships, in order that the Charity can fulfil its objectives,
- Promote and oversee the highest standards of corporate governance within the Board and the Charity.
How to Apply
Please send CV and Covering Letter to [email protected], by the deadline of Feb 4th 2022.