BEING A TRUSTEE. FINDING TRUSTEES
Volunteers are the backbone of many of our local charities and organisations here in Gloucestershire and beyond
Without people volunteering as Trustees for charities – leading them and shaping their direction – the charities simply could not exist. As a result, there is an ongoing need for more Trustees across our county. Given this and the vital role they play, we’ve put together information to:
- Help interested people find out more about being a Trustee and the benefits of doing so (it’s not as daunting as you might think!); and
- Guide organisations through the process of recruiting Trustees
We will also point you to where you can apply for live Trustee opportunities TODAY!
STORIES FROM LOCAL TRUSTEES
When I joined the board of Artlift I had never had much involvement in the charity sector, and I wasn’t sure what I would be able to contribute at board level. Had the Artlift team not been so welcoming and supportive, I imagine I would have felt quite daunted!
It turned out that, alongside first-hand experience with local mental health services, my background in project and operations management in the private sector stood me in good stead. At a time when my self-confidence was at rock bottom, I started to feel I was making a valuable contribution to a charity whose work I cared deeply about and really believed in.
As a Trustee in my 30’s, I would love to see more young people on boards so don’t be put off by the misconceived idea of some that you have to be a certain age, colour, class or ability. I’m able to work at a level it would take me a while to reach in my professional life; I now chair two other charities and love it – even when things get tough.
Professionally, I now work almost exclusively in the charity sector, which I owe to the invaluable experience I have gained since joining the Artlift board. Business plans, strategic planning, grant writing, HR management, governance, compliance, and a massive drive to help others and make a positive impact are some of the transferable skills I carry with me into future roles.
Dr David Abrutat
Dr David Abrutat served in the military in the 1990s as a Royal Marines Commando and RAF Officer. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society & Royal Geographic Society. He has been disabled and a full-time wheelchair user since 2000, after a serious car accident whilst serving with the RAF. He took to disabled sports and competed for Great Britain for a number of years, participating in European and World Disabled Cycling Championships.
He became an Ambassador for the Allsorts charity in Stroud, having worked for years with the organisation Sports for Schools. He was asked to be a Trustee on the Allsorts Board at the end of 2020 supporting the charity, its strategic aims and providing guidance to the CEO.
David brings a wealth of strategic planning, leadership, management and communications/marketing experience to the Board. David said, "The Board are a great bunch with quite diverse backgrounds, skills and life experience but as a collective the Trustees are helping drive forward the future development of the charity, benefiting families in the area who have children with additional needs, a vital part of what we can bring to our community."
"Being a Trustee on the Board at Allsorts has taught me an awful lot about financial planning, budgetary allocations and balancing the needs of the charity short-term, versus the longer-term strategic aspects of making sure the organisation rides out a turbulent time in our country post-Covid. It has certainly made me more conscious of my own financial planning!"
I became a Trustee of Barnwood Trust in 2019, as I wanted to become more involved in their work, having seen their positive enabling approach in Gloucestershire to people with disabilities and mental health challenges. At the time, I was volunteering with Barnwood as a Home Visitor and a Trust Governor, so I had some insight into their activities and the chance to ask lots of questions.
As a Trustee, I really enjoy learning from and working with other Trustees and Barnwood staff. We have a clear shared vision and strategy to improve the lives of people who have disabilities and promote their inclusion and wellbeing. It is so rewarding to see the changes that have been facilitated and funded within Gloucestershire, which are making a real difference to individuals, groups and communities.
At our formal and informal Trustee meetings we have positive and constructive discussions on the current work and future priorities, as we know there is significant and increasing pressures on people with disabilities. As you would expect, there are different views with competing suggestions and options. This is powerful, as listening to each other enables us jointly to make sound decisions which we can then monitor in terms of the impact that it is having.
Having worked in the health service for most of my career, I am also very impressed with the strong commitment to learning and service development at every level within the Trust and this includes Trustee development too. So as a Trustee, I too have personally and professionally developed in my role over the last three years, engaging in and valuing the learning opportunities, support and feedback from fellow Trustees and Barnwood staff.
Dr Joanna Wilde
I live in Cheltenham and am a Trustee at Artlift. I was diagnosed with late-stage cancer just before the pandemic and decided to study in textile arts at the Open College of the Arts to help my transition to a life with cancer and to soothe the difficulties with pain and mobility associated with my change in health status.
Prior to this I had worked as a Chartered Psychologist with an executive career in organisational health and effectiveness in companies such as British Airways and Hewlett Packard. In retiring from this work, I continued with my expert committee role in workplace health for the Health and Safety Executive and was looking for a way to contribute locally. I was drawn to apply to Artlift because of charity's purpose and the way they were able to accommodate me gave me the confidence that I would be enabled to contribute.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience so far as I learn my way around the governance of a small charity. This has allowed me to bring my experience from outside the voluntary sector and get involved in creative development work, such as their dance and chronic pain research project.