At Skylarks, our vision is to help create a world where children with additional needs can thrive.
We aspire to achieve this vision by enabling every child and young person with additional needs to live their best life while supporting everyone whose lives they touch.
Skylarks provide a supportive and active community. We care for the whole family, providing opportunities to join in, develop and feel empowered. We want to remove the isolation that can be created for families and their children who have a disability or additional needs. We are based in Richmond upon Thames but have an open-door policy. Anyone, from anywhere, is welcome!
The charity was originally founded as Me too & Co by a group of parent volunteers in 2006 to fill a gap in the local community where there was a lack of support. In April 2019, we rebranded and officially changed our name to Skylarks Charity (or Skylarks for short). Most recently we have been awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of the wonderful team of dedicated volunteers we have supporting our cause.
Over 2000 families and 3000 children have now registered to use our services and the list is growing! Over the past 10 years, the organisation has continued to grow. We have expanded from first providing inclusive play sessions to now offering a wide range of therapies and services that are often otherwise inaccessible to families. These include services such as hydrotherapy, counselling, inclusive activities like drama and karate, and free advice for Special Educational Needs (SEN).
Our independence as a charity means we can develop our programme in line with the needs of our families; something that has always been and remains important to us. We do not apply for or receive any statutory funding from government or local authorities.
- We aim to support children with any disability and additional needs. Helping to reduce the impact that this can have on their access to activities and their wider life experiences. We aim to remove the exclusion that families can feel. This can develop from being unable to access mainstream services due to a lack of understanding, facilities or knowledge. We aim to offer support to the whole family. Supporting siblings, parents and carers, making sure they are provided with therapy, advice, information and services to empower them as advocates and to improve their quality of life.
After almost two terms (six years) the Board of Trustees wishes to rotate the Chair role of the Board in line with our Articles of Association. Currently, no individual within the existing Board has the capacity to assume this hands-on Chair role. We would like to recruit a Deputy Chair to the Board with a view that this individual would shadow the current Chair, take on a committee leadership role and transition into the Chair role at the end of the calendar year 2021. For context, the current board of trustees have been with the organisation for several years & have supported the growth of the charity. Due to growth & increased staffing, whilst many of the current trustees would be keen to step up, due to work & family commitments this has not been possible on this occasion. The current Chair remains committed to serving on the board past 2021 in a Director level capacity, however not in this leadership role due to terms served.
The purpose of the Chair is to provide leadership and direction to the Board of Trustees. The Chair aims to enable the board to fulfil its responsibilities for the overall governance and strategic direction of Skylarks.
The Chair works with the other Trustees and the Managing Director to ensure that the organisation complies with its legal duties, makes sure that the organisation pursues its objectives as defined in its governing document and that it develops and achieves its strategic objectives ensuring that the Charity has maximum impact for its beneficiaries.
The Chair supports, and, where appropriate, challenge the Managing Director to ensure staff are supported to help them achieve the aims of the organisation and optimise the relationship between the board of Trustees and the staff.
The role will act as an ambassador and the public face of the charity in partnership with other Trustees, the Managing Director and other senior managers in the Charity.