We’re recruiting a Managing Director!


Job title: Managing Director (MD)

Closing date for applications: Friday 24 February 2017


The Big Lemon Community Interest Company is a super-friendly sustainable transport business based in Brighton, providing the local community with affordable, environmentally sustainable bus and coach services that are a joy for passengers to use.  

We have a core team of 16 full-time staff and a fleet of ten buses and coaches operating four local bus services plus private hire and coaches for music festivals and other events.  Our vehicles run on recycled waste cooking oil from local restaurants.

Founded almost exactly ten years ago, The Big Lemon is a social enterprise on a mission to enable people in our community to get around easily, sustainably and affordably. We do this by hiring fantastic people to deliver a great service on the buses and give our passengers the best experience we possibly can.  

The Big Lemon Team - Brighton
Team Lemon

Our values are Empowerment, Community, Sustainability, Creativity and Fun and we try to live and breathe these values in everything we do. Our staff team are fully engaged in every aspect of our business, including developing this role description, and will be a core part of the recruitment process.

We are at an exciting time in our journey. Last year we raised £250,000 from the community to invest in zero-emission electric buses, and £25,835 for a solar roof from the M&S Energy Awards where our plans for zero-emission, zero-carbon transport won the public vote.

2016 was also a record-breaking year on our other core indicators, with record passenger numbers, largest CO2 savings, and our best ever financial results. We also scooped nine local, regional and national awards including awards for Green Business, Innovation, Transport, Best Workplace, Business of the Year and Environmental Social Enterprise of the Year.

Our vision is that by 2030 every community in the UK has access to affordable, sustainable transport, using zero-emissions vehicles powered by renewable energy and owned by the local community. We are reorganising our business to create a distinct Brighton & Hove business focussed on delivering the best possible passenger experience in Brighton & Hove, growing our services and expanding our impact in the local community; and a national network focussed on delivering our vision for 2030 by developing and supporting a network of community-owned social enterprises like The Big Lemon in Brighton & Hove.  We are recruiting a Managing Director to lead The Big Lemon in Brighton & Hove.

Reports to: Board of Directors

Direct reports: Operations Manager, Transport Manager, Office Manager

Key liaison with: Board of Trustees and The Big Lemon national team

Job location: Brighton BN2 5TJ

Pay band: £40,000 – £45,000 depending on qualifications and experience

Contract length: Permanent.

Working requirements:

The Managing Director will be expected to manage their own routine in accordance with the needs of the business. It is a 24 hour operation, seven days a week with core hours 7am – 7pm, Monday to Friday. The Managing Director will be ultimately responsible for the operation 24/7 but will be expected to put in place and manage a system that works with or without them actually being there.

The needs of the business are varied, and the Managing Director will most likely spend some of their time in the office, some of their time in the depot or the workshop, some of their time out and about in the community, and some of their time riding the bus, talking to passengers, and experiencing the service for themselves. The hours are not fixed but it would be sensible to assume something in the region of an average 40 hour week.

Applications for a job share are welcome; job share candidates will need to apply together and demonstrate that between them they can fulfil the requirements of the role.


  • competitive salary and company pension
  • 20 days holiday pa plus bank holidays; longer periods of unpaid leave are also possible by negotiation with the Board of Trustees so long as the needs of the business are taken care of.
  • free travel on the bus network across the South of England
  • membership of the Transport Benevolent Fund, with all associated benefits
  • the chance to work with a wonderful ‘big family’ team in one of Brighton & Hove’s best-loved businesses and one of the UK’s most respected social enterprises

Role Description:

The success of our business depends on the leadership capability of our Managing Director. You will be responsible for setting our strategy and leading the team to achieve our aims:

  • to be the best workplace
  • to deliver the best service in the city
  • to encourage the shift to sustainable transport
  • to grow our services to provide greater benefit to our community
  • to support the 2030 vision through innovation and the development of best practice

The Managing Director reports to the Board of Directors (Board) and is delegated day-to-day decision-making authority within the parameters set by our vision, mission and values.

What kind of person are we looking for?

Someone who loves our city and shares our Values

  • to empower our team to be the best they can be, and give our passengers the freedom that comes with a reliable, affordable bus service
  • to make a positive impact on our community
  • to be the greenestwe can be
  • to be creative and innovative in everything we do
  • to bring joy, happiness and a bit of fun to our team, our passengers and our community

Someone with the following Skills – or the willingness to learn

  • good leadership and people skills
  • a good listener and communicator
  • entrepreneurial; ability to see, and grasp, opportunities
  • a strategic thinker; a good problem solver; solutions-focussed
  • good organisational and planning skills
  • good grasp of basic business accounting
  • good computer literacy, especially Microsoft programs, Google Apps and cloud-based systems such as WordPress, Mailchimp, Shopify, Checkfront and Xero 
  • good social media skills
  • an eye for detail as well as the bigger picture
  • able to represent the organisation at all levels

Someone with relevant Experience, including some but not necessarily all of the below:

  • leadership and management experience, preferably in a transport business, a social enterprise or other purpose-driven organisation
  • experience in a customer-focussed environment
  • experience measuring impact and effectiveness against key performance indicators
  • change management experience
  • experience in compliance, preferably in the transport industry
  • experience in health and safety and risk assessment
  • business-planning and budget-setting experience

Someone with a great Attitude

  • positive, energetic, fun
  • team player, good work ethic
  • flexible & fair
  • willing to take risks and make mistakes

Key Areas of Responsibility:

  • Culture, values, energy, vision, aims & goals
  • Financial planning, pricing, budgets, procurement
  • Community engagement, networking, marketing, bidding for contracts
  • Route planning, timetabling
  • Staff engagement, systems, policies, procedures, legal, compliance, health & safety
  • Recruitment, induction, training, team leadership and staff development
  • Operations, risk assessment, service delivery, troubleshooting
  • Customer relationships, contract management
  • Records, reporting, measuring, reviewing, planning, KPIs, evidencing impact
  • Business development, market research, business planning

Next steps: Give us a ring (01273 681681), pop round for a cuppa & an informal chat to find out more; or email your CV & a covering letter outlining what makes you the best person for the job to kelly@thebiglemon.comIf you’d like to spend a couple of hours or a day with us to see what the role is like you’re welcome to do so; nothing from that day will be included in any assessment of your suitability for the role. 

Interviews: Interviews will take place on Thursday 2 March, Friday 3 March or Saturday 4 March 2017.  Alternative dates can be arranged on request if required subject to availability.