An invitation to become a Trustee of the Friends

The Invitation

You enjoy the Arts, you believe that Cheltenham’s story is worth telling and that the town’s heritage matters today – more than ever, perhaps. Would you be willing to volunteer some of your time to become a trustee of the Friends of The Wilson, Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum?

Whatever your skills and experience – but especially in areas such as finance, heritage, administration, marketing, IT and Desk Top Publishing, social media, events planning and organisation – your contribution and enthusiasm could really help the Friends of The Wilson, and The Wilson itself, to move forward at a time when art galleries and museums need friends more than ever.

About the Friends

Established in 1984, we are one of the longest-established arts societies in Cheltenham. We are independent of The Wilson, with our own constitution, but our prime purpose is to support the Art Gallery & Museum. We do this in various ways – financially of course, by contributing not only to the cost of acquisitions, but also to various development projects such as temporary exhibitions, equipping new spaces within the building and even, on occasion, underwriting certain staff costs and equipment. Museums and galleries world-wide are living through very challenging times; over the past ten years the Friends have provided more than £435,000 to support The Wilson. (You can see exactly how this money was spent by visiting the Donations portal of the Friends website.)

We raise funds not only by our annual subscriptions, but by the events – talks, outings, visits, receptions &c. – that we organise throughout the year. We greatly appreciate the generosity of those who make additional donations, gifts and legacies and we make sure these gifts are put to good use, the better to support of the work of The Wilson and its staff.

Sometimes we make special appeals to our members and to the wider community to raise funds for a particular purpose. As Friends (more than 500 us in 2020-21) we share a strong sense of loyalty to The Wilson and to the arts more widely in Cheltenham. We have good links, for instance, with the Holst Birthplace Trust and with Cheltenham Arts Council. It’s fair to say we are proud of the Museum’s Arts and Crafts collection of designated national significance. We cherish, too, the growing collection celebrating the life, the scientific and artistic achievements, and the enduring legacy of Edward Adrian Wilson, the Antarctic explorer.

Our commitment to the Art Gallery & Museum and all its collections is reflected, we hope, both in the contribution of those members who work as volunteers at The Wilson and in our publications, especially the Friends’ Newsletter (published each January, May and September) and in the monthly News Updates emailed to members.

About the Trustees

Everything that the Friends do is overseen by the Committee of Trustees. As a registered charity, we are committed to following the regulations and guidelines laid down by the Charity Commissioners. There are at present nine trustees, some of whom are due to retire in 2022, and we are keen appoint new members to join the Committee this autumn. We meet formally every two months. We aim always to work in partnership with The Cheltenham Trust, the body responsible to Cheltenham Borough Council for running The Wilson, along with other cultural and leisure destinations in Cheltenham: the Town Hall, Pittville Pump Room, Leisure at Cheltenham and the Prince of Wales Stadium.

You do not have to be a Friend of The Wilson (yet!) to join the trustees, nor do you need previous experience of being a trustee. We are committed to making the Friends as inclusive and diverse an association as we can, so if you share our interests and are keen to play a part in sustaining and enriching the cultural life of Cheltenham, please do contact us.

To find out more

To express an interest in becoming a trustee of the Friends of The Wilson, or simply to find out more about what is involved, please feel free to contact the present Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, or any of the trustees:

Chair (Adrian Barlow):

Secretary (John Beard):

Treasurer (Liz Giles):

Contact details for all the trustees are given on our Meet The Trustees page.