West Horsley Place is a Grade I listed mediaeval manor house and estate of great beauty and historic significance. The current manor house dates from 1425, though there has been a building on site since Saxon times. The house remains on Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register and along with the outbuildings has parts in very bad states of disrepair. 

The West Horsley Place Trust is working to bring the house, gardens, 380-acre estate and 8 Grade II listed outbuildings back into good repair and to improve people's wellbeing through art, culture, heritage & nature.

We are committed to maximising access for everyone, by continually listening to the voices of people with lived experience and responding; doing everything we can, within the limitations of our Grade I listed heritage buildings, monuments, gardens and wider estate, to provide the best and most engaging experience for all of our visitors.

One of the ways we will do this is with the help and support of a new Access Panel – a new group of disabled volunteers who are passionate and committed to making heritage locations more accessible.


Main Purpose of Role

West Horsley Place is looking for a talented, experienced Access Panel Chair who has lived experience of one or more disabling barriers, to provide effective leadership to its new Access Panel.  The Chair will be passionate and committed to making heritage locations more accessible for disabled people and ideally will be an advocate in this space with demonstrable experience.

The purpose of the Access Panel is to consult and lead on recommendations on a wide range of areas to improve access at the Trust including physical access,  signage, project development digital access and interpretation across our heritage site.

West Horsley Place’s Access Panel will meet at least 4 times annually with an additional informal introductory meeting held during the first year. The panel will consist of up to 15  disabled people with a range of different lived experiences.

During each meeting a member of the Trust’s staff will on progress made on panel advice enabling further discussion where necessary.

The main responsibilities of the Panel Chair will be to:

  • Manage the agenda in collaboration with the Access Coordinator
  • Lead discussions and ensure all points on the agendas are given reasonable discussion time
  • Keeping the meeting to time
  • Developing ground rules for communication which allow the whole panel opportunity to input to discussion and holding the panel accountable to them
  • Ensure that panel advice has the broad support of panel members
  • Feedback to the Trustees as per the Access Policy of the Trust
  • Liaise with the Access Coordinator to continuously improve access
  • Be a champion for Access within the Trust and support the embedding of best practice

Key Relationships: Access Coordinator; Arts, Heritage and Learning Manager, the board of Trustees, Access panel members


Your Commitment and Expenses:

We are seeking an Access Panel Chair to serve for a 3-year term, with the option to extend this. We are open to negotiating this initial term for Access Panel Chair, but would require a year’s commitment as an absolute minimum. This is an unpaid voluntary role. We will reimburse reasonable travel expenses to attend meetings.


Person specification

We are looking for a positive, pro-active and organised person who will develop the new role of Chair of the Access Panel to be a champion of access and support us in our goal of breaking down barriers to participation in our activities.

You will buy-in to and demonstrate our values of being:

  • Inclusive and non-elitist, seek to embrace as wide an audience as possible
  • Community-focused – both of place and of practice
  • Warm and welcoming
  • Innovative and challenging
  • Embracing of partnership
  • Open and honest


To be successful in this volunteer role, the Chair must have the following essential attributes, experience and knowledge:

The ability to

  • Effectively chair meetings
  • Effectively communicate at all levels, to the Board, the Director and to the wider team and community
  • Influence and challenge as necessary in a constructive and productive way
  • Build strong and productive partnerships with external agencies in support of improving our understanding and response to access needs
  • Build strong and productive relationships with the wider team and community at West Horsley Place and champion access for all our visitors
  • In-depth understanding of the access challenges and barriers facing disabled people
  • A thorough knowledge of best practice in this area and a willingness to learn and adapt in response to the changing needs of the access panel members.


As well as the following core attributes:

  • Excellent communication skills, able to adapt to a wide range of audiences
  • Collegiate in approach, encouraging everyone on the access panel to contribute
  • Persuasive; able to embed best practice across the organisation and demonstrate to all what best practice looks like

How to Apply: Please submit your CV and cover letter, including details of relevant skills and experience to Jo Ellison, Community Engagement and Projects Coordinator, by emailing to [email protected] or by post to the above address. Please also include details of any adjustments you might need that will make the recruitment process more accessible to you.

If you would rather submit a short video or audio file then this can be arranged.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about this role by emailing [email protected] or calling 01483 282032


Deadline for Applications: Monday 28th March

Initial interviews will be held remotely, followed by an in-person interview at West Horsley Place. You can find our current access guidelines for visitors here-

To download a PDF version of this document click here.

(Please note, this document can be made available in large print or in audio form, please contact Jo Ellison by email at [email protected] or by calling 01483 282032).