Sustain / Jobs

Executive Assistant

Job title

Executive Assistant to Sustain's Senior Management Team


Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming

Gross Annual Salary

£18,446 on 0.6 FTE (FT equivalent £30,744). In addition, Sustain matches pension contributions up to 5% of gross salary.


0.6 FTE (21 hours). Our preference is for the hours to be worked across the full week, Monday to Friday but other options can be considered.


Role is office-based in Cambridge Heath, London, subject to the government's COVID-19 guidelines. Flexible working can be agreed, with the opportunity to work up to half of the hours from home following a satisfactory probationary period, in line with Sustain's Working from Home policy.

Position type

18 months fixed-term with a 3-month probation period, with the ambition to secure this as a longer-term position, subject to funding.

Annual Leave

12 days Basic Annual Leave based on 0.6 FTE + same proportion of public hols + office closures.

Closing date

10am, Thursday 28 October 2021


Contact email

Equal opportunities

Sustain is an equal opportunities employer. See our Equal Opportunities Policy. Sustain is commited to being a welcoming and inclusive employer, including recruiting for diversity. Read more about our approach here.

Right to Work

Entitlement to work in the UK. You will need to hold the necessary rights/visa to work in the UK, Sustain is not able to assist with applications for work permits.

Other details

Cycle to Work scheme available on salary sacrifice basis.

About Sustain

Sustain is a powerful alliance bringing together around 100 organisations nationally – and hundreds more at local and regional level. We believe everyone should have access to healthy and sustainably produced food that protects people, animals and planet. Working together, we run highly effective and creative campaigns, advocacy, networks and demonstration projects, aiming to catalyse permanent changes in policy and practice, and to help equip more people and communities with skills as change-makers. Collectively, we strive for better food, farming and fishing through policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, tackle climate change and restore nature, improve the living and working environment, enrich society and culture, and promote greater equality.

We operate in collaboration with our membership to achieve the aims set out in our Sustain Strategy, 2021-2025 and:

  • Develop networks of people and organisations to devise and implement projects and campaigns, and to provide a platform for recognition and replication of pioneering work.
  • Run highly effective and creative campaigns, advocacy, networks and demonstration projects, aiming to catalyse permanent changes in policy and practice, and to help equip more people and communities with skills as change-makers.
  • Advise and negotiate with governments, local authorities, regulatory agencies, funding bodies and other decision-makers to ensure that legislation and policies on food, fishing and farming are publicly accountable and socially and environmentally responsible.

We pursue these through a combination of local and national action, with much success. Through our organisation development plan we are also committed to improving the way we work and have set targets for improving our communications and campaigning, increasing the diversity of our staff, trustees and supporter networks, building stronger connections with supporters and other people working for change, and upskilling our staff and the movement.

About this role

Sustain has around 20 to 25 staff running projects, campaigns and core support services such as finance, IT and design, and administration. The organisation is managed overall by a senior management team of three people – Chief Executive Kath Dalmeny; Deputy Chief Executive Ben Reynolds and Programmes Director Sarah Williams. We are now seeking an Executive Assistant to work with the senior management team – and closely with the Chief Executive and Trustees – to help manage effectively a range of important tasks for the running of a diverse alliance and national charity, through a positive period of growth and evolutionary change for Sustain. This is a new job opportunity within Sustain. We have undertaken some preparatory work with the help of a freelance Executive Assistant, but the role is open to further shaping and development by the successful candidate, within the context of the Sustain team.

Tasks and responsibilities

Sustain’s Executive Assistant will have a central, varied and stimulating workload working closely with the Chief Executive, Senior Management Team, Trustees and with other Sustain staff providing core support services. The Executive Assistant’s responsibilities will include:

1.      Personal Assistant support for Sustain’s Chief Executive

  • Helping the CEO to manage and prioritise her organisational relationships, appointments and diary commitments, as well as her email inbox, including drafting responses for sign-off.
  • Helping the CEO to respond in a timely fashion and to keep time available to respond to requests and development needs of staff members, external stakeholders and priority issues. Examples of typical work include outreach to key decision-makers, alliance members and other stakeholders; briefing journalists, funders, trustees, alliance members and partners; facilitating alliance sessions to tackle issues of common concern; input on editorial and campaign development; catch-up meetings with key staff; and document/process sign-off.

2.     Executive Assistant support to Sustain’s Senior Management Team (SMT)

  • Helping the SMT to arrange external meetings and contact management.
  • Helping the SMT to arrange monthly management meetings. Attending these meetings, producing meeting notes and supporting the SMT staff to pursue the actions identified in a timely and accountable fashion, in relation to Sustain’s Strategy, Organisation Development Plan and keeping staff informed of key developments.
  • Helping the SMT to report to and consult with Sustain staff, union representative(s) and others on relevant developments (for example, preparing a report of key points from the SMT meetings for the SMT to deliver at staff meetings).
  • Working with the Chief Executive and Head of Finance, collating and drafting quarterly papers for Sustain’s Council of Trustees and maintaining the Trustees contact list and other details.
  • Attending quarterly Sustain Council of Trustees meetings (usually on a Wednesday afternoon), drafting the minutes for sign-off by the CEO and Chair, and ensuring these are checked and circulated in line with relevant deadlines; also helping the SMT with follow-up actions.
  • Responding to Trustee enquiries about Council and administrative matters.
  • Maintaining and tracking the process of HR and organisational policy updates – some as part of regular review; others through the process of consultation, re-drafting and sign-off.
  • Managing and developing Sustain’s VIP database as well as Sustain’s communications with these individuals.
  • Helping to prepare the Sustain Annual Report, to involve collating and editing material and ensuring that a range of contributors are meeting their deadlines.
  • Helping to prepare papers and with the process of recruiting new Trustees for Sustain’s Annual General Meeting (usually takes place in November/December each year) and with organising follow-up work, such as pursuing actions, checking that the Annual Report to the Charity Commission and Companies House has been submitted, and helping to induct, get relevant information from and register new Trustees.
  • Helping the SMT to organise a new outreach programme to cultivate relationships, partnerships and speaking opportunities with Sustain member organisations and others, with the Executive Assistant helping with tracking progress, relationship building, liaison and diary management.
  • Booking travel and accommodation when required.

3.     Support for management aspects of Sustain’s core work:

  • Attending monthly Line Managers Team meetings, helping to develop the agenda, producing meeting notes and supporting SMT and line-management staff to pursue the actions identified in a timely and accountable fashion.
  • Attending monthly Sustain staff meetings, participating as a member of staff, who share the chairing and minute-taking roles on a rolling rota basis.
  • Taking part in one of the Sustain core teams as an active participant, for example contributing to Sustain’s development of communications, fundraising or approach to improving diversity.
  • Building excellent connections with staff, Trustees, key Sustain alliance members, partners and contacts to enable ‘Sustain-style’ warm relationships, active listening, positive exchanges and timely action.
  • Occasionally taking part in events out-of-hours, or outside London, to support events and activities that further the work of the alliance.
  • Other duties and activities that may arise from time to time.

From June 2021, Sustain has adopted a new Working from Home policy that enables staff to work up to half of their hours from home, if their work suits this approach and if the staff member has completed a satisfactory probationary period. We also offer other flexible working arrangements to help people manage their work and personal lives. We highlight that Sustain’s treasured culture and success is built on excellent connections between staff and the movement of people we work with, so working together in an open-plan office, and participating in lunchtime and social activities together, is warmly encouraged and part of the job. The Executive Assistant job is offered on a part-time basis, and the hours can be managed flexibly. Our preference is for the successful candidate to work their hours across the full week, Monday to Friday, and this may suit someone managing other regular work or personal responsibilities.

Personal specification

Sustain is seeking a motivated and experienced Executive Assistant with fantastic organisational and team-working skills who shares our commitment to making the world a better place, and who has the following skills and experience.


  • Experience of working as a Personal Assistant (PA) or Executive Assistant (EA) at Senior or Leadership Level, preferably in a small and values-driven organisation
  • Exceptional organisational skills. time management and attention to detail
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in fluent spoken and written English
  • Excellent word-processing, email and file management skills
  • Ability to work independently, with high levels of self-motivation
  • Ability to treat confidential and financial information with discretion and a high level of precision and integrity
  • Ability to cultivate supportive workplace relationships built on collaboration and mutual trust
  • A personable, supportive, non-judgemental and inclusive style to help cultivate our warm relationships with a diverse range of people and organisations; and an ability to be diplomatic on the rare occasions where this proves more challenging
  • Energy, enthusiasm, creativity and tenacity
  • A strong commitment to diversity and inclusion within the context of the role
  • Ability to work the contracted hours across the full week, Monday to Friday
  • Availability to commence work promptly following the recruitment process


  • An interest in – and some knowledge of – sustainability, health and equality issues in relation to food, farming and fishing
  • Experience of working within the not-for-profit sector


Diversity matters to us. We have a working environment where we value and respect every individual's unique contribution. Diversity helps us identify where change is needed and what is required to promote equity as well as reflect the concerns of our wide alliance of members.

We are committed to equality of opportunity and welcome applications from individuals, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic background, religion and/or belief. We are happy to discuss and consider flexible working at the point of hire.

Sustain’s Executive Assistant will contribute to the mutually supportive culture of Sustain (including staff and project participants) in which equality and diversity are not just respected but promoted.

How to apply

To apply for this position, please email the following:

- a completed Application form
- a completed Equal Opportunities Monitoring form

As we are recruiting for several positions over this period, please put Executive Assistant in the subject line of your covering email along with your name.

Deadline: 10am, Thursday 28 October 2021

First-stage interviews for this position, for long-listed candidates, will take place virtually using Zoom on Thursday 4 November 2021. Second-stage interviews for short-listed candidates will take place either online or in-person during the week of 8 November 2021. Ideally the successful candidate would be able to start shortly after the interview process.

The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9DA

020 3559 6777

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

© Sustain 2021
Registered charity (no. 1018643)
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