The Healthy Living Centre in Aylesbury is a community-led service aiming to build opportunities that support the development of individuals and groups in Buckinghamshire.


When faced with the need to recruit a new Director to the CIC which runs The Healthy Living Centre, the Board turned to Community Impact Bucks (CIB) for help, as the Chair Julia King explains.

What is The Healthy Living Centre all about? The Healthy Living Centre (HLC) was set up as a project in 2002 to deliver health and wellbeing services to the residents of the Walton Court and Southcourt wards in Aylesbury, two of the most deprived areas in the country.

In 2011, the HLC became a community interest company (CIC) and this social enterprise status has enabled it to continue to reinvest in new community projects to meet unsatisfied need in terms of improving the health, wellbeing, lifestyle choices, skills and employment opportunities for residents of the local and other deprived areas in the county.

In 2014 the centre’s building at Walton Court was refurbished and an attractive resource is now available as a backbone for community services and outreach programmes.

What support did The Healthy Living Centre need? Set up by a local residents’ group, the HLC was initially supported by the Primary Care Trust (PCT) and the Board of Trustees was made up of representatives from the PCT and other major stakeholders. When the PCT was abolished as part of a Health Service reorganisation, the HLC became a CIC, supported totally by grant and project funding from local and national organisations and local government. The CIC was reconstituted with a Board of Directors, initially made up of those people who had been Trustees under the previous structure and additional representatives from new stakeholders and partners.

Over time various people have left the Board and in 2018, it became apparent that The Healthy Living Centre would have to recruit at least one new Director.

How did CIB help? CIB’s Lead for Volunteering, Hazel Finney, provided the HLC with comprehensive support with its Board recruitment.  This comprised supplying model role descriptions and a wide range of online and offline ideas for advertising vacancies, as well as guidance on items to include in the application pack, and exactly what areas to cover at interview stage.  CIB also provided an induction pack checklist and induction programme planner document.  As a result, the HLC developed a recruitment pack, together with a recruitment process with clearly defined steps, from initial expression of interest and application form, through to an interview with Julia and two other Board members.

CIB’s input helped Julia and the Board to sharpen up their processes, and to focus on how to get a tailored Board, by thinking about what sort of person they wanted to bring onto the Board, and what kind of support they would want from that new recruit. Julia has also benefited from attending a CIB workshop on Board recruitment, and CIB’s annual Trustee Conference.

Recruiting the new Director: In November 2018, The Healthy Living Centre advertised the role of Director, and a number of applicants applied. The newly designed recruitment process resulted in an offer to Olga Harte to join the Board, and she was very happy to accept.

A word from the new Director, Olga: “My recruitment process was very straightforward, from completing the application form to attending the interview. Through the interview and during the on boarding process I was made to feel very welcome and part of the team. Our tour of the facility, organised by the CEO, was a great opportunity to look at the premises, meet the staff and think about improvement areas. I really look forward to improving the future of the HLC and being part of the team!”

Summing it all up: Julia says that CIB has been incredibly useful and that the HLC has used its services in many ways – not just for advice on Board recruitment.

For more information on The Healthy Living Centre, or if you would be interested in volunteering or joining its Board, visit the website.

Published on November 18, 2019

Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society