Build a charity career with impact: Arthritis Research UK

Third Sector Promotion Arthritis Research UK

Adrienne Skelton, director of strategic development, tells us about working for Arthritis Research UK.

Adrienne Skelton, director of strategic development
Adrienne Skelton, director of strategic development

Arthritis Research UK is working to improve quality of life for the UK’s 10 million people living with arthritis. Adrienne Skelton, director of strategic development, tells us about the charity’s change of direction and offers insight into three pivotal roles they are recruiting for.

Arthritis Research UK is growing and changing. It currently has 200 employees working across its London and Chesterfield offices.
"It’s a very exciting time for those who like change", enthuses Skelton. "We are building on our fantastic heritage and developing exciting new areas of work, so that we can make a real, tangible improvement in the quality of life of people with arthritis. We welcome fresh ideas from our teams and each individual has the opportunity to make a real impact."

Focus on improving quality of life

The charity’s core focus has traditionally been to fund medical research. However, last year they made a strategic decision to add to this, and now also focus on improving quality of life for people with arthritis.
"We will continue to fund research. But this changes what we do", says Skelton. "Millions of people are living in pain and we are not happy to stand by and let that affect their quality of life."
Researchers commissioned to spend time with people living with arthritis, joint and back pain have been shocked by the level of pain many are enduring, often for decades. "If you can’t move around easily, the world is not a very nice place to be", says Skelton, recalling a 30 year-old woman telling a researcher she was too scared to leave her home due to severe back pain for fear someone might attack her.
"Finding a cure for arthritis is very important to us", adds Skelton. "But we also recognise that there is a need to help people right now and to develop the right information and advice services so that they will not continue to live in pain."

New leadership roles created

To help the charity deliver its new strategic aims, three senior roles have been created. The head of impact and evaluation role aims to understand and therefore maximise the impact of what the charity does, ensuring every penny makes real improvements to quality of life.
The head of service development and delivery will establish the new services arm of the charity - a significant opportunity for someone to lead this area of work using their own initiative. You will be responsible for developing our high quality content, building a multi-channel enquiries service and developing relationships with a wide range of partners to help deliver the charity’s aims.
The new head of professional engagement role will head up a team to engage with healthcare professionals externally to help them to deliver the best possible care to people with arthritis, such as GPs, physiotherapists and practice nurses, and also with fitness professionals. You will conduct a strategic review to determine key priorities, while building the team to deliver real impact.Raising money for better services

Do you have what it takes? 

Due to rapid growth in the organisation, the successful candidates need good technical skills and in some cases sector-specific experience.
"You don’t have to be the finished article", adds Skelton. "We offer plenty of opportunities to develop your career and skills from change management and project management to leadership development.
"A big part of the roles involve shaping and driving teams so we’re looking for leaders who want to make a difference, can spot opportunities and solve problems".
Adrienne Skelton’s top tips for applying:

  • Demonstrate your experience: Show that you’ve done this type of work on a comparable scale and can operate at a national level. For the professional engagement role, charity experience is desirable, not essential.
  • CV and cover letter: Specifically address the criteria in the job advert. It’s an easy way to make sure you get on the shortlist but you do need to provide evidence so be concise and give specific examples.
  • Be expressive: Don’t be afraid to let your passion for the role shine through in your application. You don’t have to be overly formal.



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