Lisa's Journey to Becoming a Trustee
Lisa was a trustee for nearly 11 years at Home-Start Richmond, Kingston & Hounslow. She originally got involved when her youngest child first went to school. Lisa works as a family barrister so the charity’s work is close to her heart, and when she noticed an advert for Home-Start in her local coffee shop, she was inspired to take up some voluntary work.
Lisa attended a board of trustees meeting on a Wednesday evening 6 times a year. Generally, there are around 10 -12 trustees at one time and one of the things that attracted Lisa was the diversity of the trustees. The group included many people that she wouldn’t necessarily come across in her daily life. Lisa explained that Home-Start have now introduced a 3 year policy for trustees to keep the board refreshed.
Being a trustee meant she had a number of different responsibilities from management decisions such as picking a new chairman, to safeguarding issues and lots of networking with the local community. Through the board of trustees, Lisa got involved in different areas of the charity when the opportunity arose. She assisted in the fundraising team, delivering a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style presentation and organising an anniversary event. She said this put her out of her comfort zone and challenged her in new ways. Lisa says a trustee role can be what you make of it, if you can’t commit too much time, there’s no pressure to take on more than you can manage.
Lisa says her trustee role made her feel she was giving back to her community; describing her experience in three words, “Rewarding, Community and Friendship”. The opportunity of being a trustee can be used as a “springboard to other things”, through the connections you make, whether that’s in other areas of the charity or the wider community.
Lisa encourages anyone to give being a charity trustee a go, her words of advice would be not to devalue yourself. Often people underestimate themselves, their skills and their experiences – if charity connects with you, go along and observe a session. There usually isn’t an obligation to continue, so test the waters and see if you like it!