Heritage & Capital Project Trustee

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is looking for a new Trustee with professional experience in the Heritage Sector, and practical experience of a major capital project development and work, to join our important charity.


Our project:

We are thrilled to confirm that our Stage One application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund was successful. The Gardens has secured a Development award of £590,000, with potential to increase this by an additional £4.4 million as the project progresses. This is transformational news for the Gardens.

The Development Phase grant (2 years) will enable the registered charity to finalise the £13.8m ‘Growing our Green Heritage’ project, to restore the historic glasshouse estate, and improve visitor, learning, and community engagement to create a place of horticultural excellence and outstanding green space for Birmingham.

As a Trustee, you will play a vital role in this project and shaping the future and the direction of the Gardens, which are a much-loved part of Birmingham’s landscape and heritage. ‘Growing our Green Heritage’ is crucial in supporting the horticultural, educational and well-being benefits of the botanical world as we navigate finding solutions to the climate crisis and the effects on plant biodiversity.

We are looking for an enthusiastic, passionate and experienced candidate with a range of skills who is happy to help deliver the core ethos of our charity. The successful candidate will assist in the responsibility and oversight of running our charity.

About the Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Birmingham Botanical Gardens Opened in 1832, Birmingham Botanical Gardens (registered charity number 528981) is one of just two independent charitable botanical gardens in the UK.

Spread across 15 acres, just one mile from Birmingham City Centre, BBG consists of over 7,000 formally documented plants, making it the largest and most diverse botanic collection in central England.

BBG’s heritage is woven into Birmingham’s history – once the most important manufacturing town in the world – and the site welcomes over 180,000 visitors each year.

As well as the gardens, which are a green sanctuary within the city, the charity also provides a unique educational resource for learning about plants, conservation, and the environment. We welcome visits from nurseries, schools, and colleges, as well as organised groups, and run adult courses and workshops in photography, nature, wildlife,heritage, and culture.

As an independent charity, we rely on the support of visitors, supporters, donors, and grants, as well as generating income from our trading arm, hosting weddings and special events. This support ensures that we can deliver our key charitable objectives, maintaining our Victorian glasshouses and our 15-acres of wonderful gardens, and developing educational projects for the Birmingham community

A diverse botanical world that enhances all our lives: our mission is to support plant biodiversity and an understanding of its importance to the natural environment through conservation, education, engagement, and enjoyment.

 BBG employs 35 full-time equivalent members of staff and is supported by a wonderful team of 50 volunteers who contribute across all areas of the Gardens’ activities. This team is led by Chief Executive Sara Blair-Manning and the Gardens Senior Leadership Team.

Governance of BBG is led by Chair is Sue Beardsmore and a Board of Trustees, the details of our current board of 10 trustees are available here.

The Board meet 4 times a year, with additional subcommittees, including those for Horticulture, Finance, Marketing and Events and an AGM. There is also trustee representation on the Capital Project Board.

Your role as a Trustee

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is looking for a new Trustee with the experience to contribute to our major project development as well ensuring that the charity complies with its governing document and our legal and financial compliance as a registered charity.

Main duties and responsibilities for all Trustees

All Trustees at BBG are expected to commit to two days per month to the role and have a core set of duties and responsibilities:

  • Ensure that BBG pursues its objectives as defined in its governing document and shows a continued commitment to BBG’s vision, mission and values.
  • Attend all Board meetings (four times per year), the AGM and any relevant sub-committees.
  • Ensure that BBG complies with its governing documents (Memorandum and Articles of Association), charity law, company law and any other relevant legislation or regulations.
  • Ensure that BBG applies its resources exclusively for the fulfilment of its objects.
  • Provide overall strategic direction to BBG, setting out the overall policy, defining goals and setting targets and evaluating performance against agreed targets.
  • Ensure the financial stability of BBG, ensuring the proper investment of all funds.
  • Work alongside the Chief Executive and team and continually monitor her performance (alongside the performance review framework).
  • Appoint, succession plan and appraise the performance of fellow Trustees.


Who are we looking for?

The successful candidate will:

  • Be an experienced heritage professional
  • Have experience of major capital project work
  • Be passionate about Birmingham’s heritage
  • Display strong leadership skills
  • Understand Birmingham, the communities, and areas in which BBG operates
  • Have strong, independent judgement and the ability to think creatively and strategically
  • Be able to give constructive feedback and to challenge other Board members and the charity
  • Be able to analyse risks and opportunities and take a balanced approach to both
  • Be able to work as part of a team, and be willing to take collective responsibility for the governance of our charity


  • Have experience of running a visitor attraction in the heritage sector.
  • Have Charity Board experience.

As part of our commitment to equality BBG wants to ensure that the Board reflects its ambition to be an inclusive and diverse organisation and to be representative of the communities we serve. The Gardens look forward to receiving applications from individuals from all backgrounds to reflect the diversity of communities, visitors and audiences to the Gardens and will conduct inclusive recruitment processes based on attitude, experience, and qualifications. Our definition of diversity encompasses responding to issues around race, ethnicity, faith, disability, age, gender, sexuality, class and economic disadvantage and any social and institutional barriers that prevent people from creating, participating, or enjoying our Gardens.

This is a fantastic opportunity to be a part of an organisation making a real difference in Birmingham and the wider natural world, and to play an active role in the future direction and strategy employed by the charity.

The deadline for applications is 28th February 2023. Please note that this role is unpaid. To apply, in the first instance, please send a one-page covering letter and your CV to chair@birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk