Charity experts, politicians and celebrities have spoken out in support of the tens of thousands of people who chair not-for-profit organisations – agreeing that they are often the unsung heroes of the voluntary sector, yet they play a critical part in the success (or failure) of the 160,000 registered charities and countless more voluntary and community groups in the UK.

association of chairs logo

Association of Chairs

Lord Andrew Adonis, Baroness Sally Morgan and Dame Stephanie Shirley have teamed up with filmmaker Mike Leigh and veteran newscaster Martyn Lewis to praise the work they do, particularly during these challenging times for the voluntary sector.

Their comments come as the Association of Chairs (AoC), the first membership organisation set up to help and support this army of important volunteers, officially launches in London with a remit to assure standards, offer professional development and champion the role and its contribution to the Third Sector.

Bishop John Gladwin, Chair of AoC and Citizen’s Advice explains: “ Chairs of boards lead their trustee colleagues, steer the development of long-term strategy and culture, and may also be central to appointing key senior staff. Despite this, there is currently no single organisation for Chairs, nor has there been a one-stop source where these leaders can find information, support and inspiration. That is until now.

The AoC already has active support from a number of key individuals and organisations including ACEVO, NCVO, CTN/Small Charities Coalition and the Charity Commission, and a host of celebrities including the entrepreneur and philanthropist, Dame Stephanie Shirley, and the filmmaker, Mike Leigh.

For more information and a full list of endorsements please contact Susan Osborne, Director of Communications, The Goodwork Organisation, on mobile 07836 229208 or email

Notes to Editors 

The AoC is an independent Association of Chairs of social purpose and not-for-profit organisations formed in order to help Chairs with their unique task: leading the Board in delivering the organisation’s aims. It is forward thinking and aims to deliver value to its members by providing information, commissioning research, peer support, networking and developing standards of best practice in governance.

Its mission is to invest in the development of Chairs by:

• Providing support and challenge and fostering peer networking
• Creating and disseminating new knowledge through research, analysis and exchange
• Assuring standards, generating self-regulation and offering professional development
• Giving voice to Chairs and championing their role and contribution to the effectiveness of their boards and organisations.