Do you want to support poetry in this country, celebrating excellence and promoting public knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of poetry in all its forms?

Forward Arts Foundation, a small charity with national cultural and educational impact, seeks two new trustees for our Board.

Specific skills and experience required include fund-raising, communications and advocacy.

As organisers of the year-round campaign that culminates each October with National Poetry Day and the annual Forward Prizes, Forward Arts Foundation promotes poetry as a vital art-form that changes perceptions, renews communities and enables people to find the words they need.

This is a unique opportunity to make a real difference to UK culture, to bring your skills and experience to assist a successful team and to support the next stages of growth and advancement.

We welcome trustees based anywhere in the UK, although our office is in London. We can meet travel expenses if necessary and one of the Board’s four annual meetings will be conducted via Skype/phone.



Forward Arts Foundation promotes public knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of poetry in the UK and Ireland. We are committed to widening poetry’s audience, honouring achievement and supporting talent.

Our mission is

  •   To celebrate excellence in poetry
  •   To increase poetry’s audience
  •   To deepen appreciation of poetry’s role

We are supported by the BBC, leading publishers, distributors and booksellers and by Arts Council England.

Our two main programmes are the Forward Prizes for Poetry and National Poetry Day, which, as the UK’s biggest mass-participation celebration of poetry, encourages people to enjoy, discover and share poems they love on the first Thursday of October.

We co-ordinate the national campaign for poetry year-round by working closely with the UK’s 4,000 libraries and 30,000 schools, and enabling the poetry and literature/literacy sectors to collaborate as a UK-wide poetry network on marketing, digital communications, education and research.

About the role

We seek to appoint two new Trustees to the Board.

The ideal candidates will have expertise in any of the below, and a belief that your skills will contribute to the strong and effective governance and growth of a small charity:

1) Restricted fundraising via grants from a range of sources – an individual with expertise in this area either from a fundraising background or as a grant maker. 

2) Unrestricted fundraising – an individual with expertise in community fundraising, corporate fundraising, events, Individuals. 

3) Communications – communications that drive action and have achieved financial objectives. Experience in delivering within a team is ideal.

4) Policy and advocacy relevant to culture, literature and literacy – we would welcome applicants with experience in policy/advocacy (e.g. with international networks, multi-laterals etc.)

Applicants should have a range of relevant skills and show interest in and understanding of the literature/arts sector and/or literacy and education

Person specification

In addition to having expertise in a relevant field, the ideal candidate(s) will have:

  •      a genuine interest in poetry and in supporting our work with poets, schools, libraries, booksellers, publishers.
  •      expertise and experience of the non-profit sector.
  •      time and commitment to attend and prepare for quarterly board meetings
  •      willingness to engage fully with the board, and members of the Forward team, to grow our work and extend its impact

The current Board comprises seven trustees:

  • Martin Thomas, Chairman: also chairs BACIT (UK) Ltd and the charity Women For Women International. He has been an official at the Bank of England, senior counsel at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt and the driving force behind the Balance Foundation.
  • William Sieghart CBE: founder of the Forward Prizes in 1992 and National Poetry Day in 1994. He is chairman of the Somerset House Trust and was responsible for the 2013 Sieghart Report on libraries. His best-selling anthology The Poetry Pharmacy prescribes poetry for various ailments of the spirit.
  • Nigel Bennett, Trustee: a former consultant to the law firm Michael Simkins LLP, where he specialised in film and television. He is a trustee of the Chichester Festival Theatre.
  • Joanna Mackle, Trustee: deputy director of the British Museum. As publishing director of Faber and Faber until 2008, she has worked closely with many of the age’s greatest poets, including Seamus Heaney, and Ted Hughes.
  • Robyn Marsack, Trustee: chairs the StAnza Poetry Festival. As Director of the Scottish Poetry Library, she was responsible for the development of a unique national resource. Born and brought up in New Zealand, she was formerly a publishers’ editor.
  • Cynthia Miller, Trustee: a Malaysian-American poet and brand consultant.  She is Co-Founder and Co-Director of Verve, the Birmingham Festival of Poetry and Spoken Word.
  • Giles Spackman, Trustee: Group Finance Director of Oxford University Press. He has worked for media and technology companies including Time Warner, Pearson and Google.

Terms and Commitment

Location: Board meetings are held in London.

Hours: The Board meets quarterly. All members are expected to attend the meetings either in person or via telephone/Skype/conference call and to assist with relevant matters between meetings. Trustees are appointed for a 3-year term, with a maximum of 3 terms possible.

Salary: Voluntary, unpaid appointment, travel expenses will be paid where necessary

Deadline for applications: 3 May 2019

To find out more & apply

Download this information pack: FAF TRUSTEES 2019, for download

Write to with your CV, and a covering letter outlining how your previous experience, knowledge and skills equip you to meet the requirements of the Person Specification.

Forward Arts Foundation is an equal opportunities employer and we positively welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons regardless of their religious beliefs or political opinions, sex, marital or family status, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or disability status.

Forward Arts Foundation is a registered charity (charity number: 1037939) and a company limited by guarantee (company no: 02902864), registered in England and Wales.