Becoming a Trustee is an exciting opportunity to lend your experience to an important cause, putting your professional skills into action to ensure the charity you’re volunteering for is reaching its goals, running efficiently and planning ahead for the future.
As part of the natural turnover of Trustees, Swindon Carers Centre is looking to grow its board and would like to hear from people who are interested in giving the role some thought. But what exactly is a charity Trustee? Please read on to hear from Hannah Crawley, our Chair of Trustees, who has kindly shared her thoughts and experience with us.
Before joining us, had you ever thought of being a Trustee?
I hadn’t before I joined the Trustee Board for Swindon Carers Centre (SCC) 7 years ago. I have absolutely loved it. As part of the Trustee Board, I get to work alongside interesting people from different walks of life and connect and engage with people I would never have met otherwise. I have had the opportunity to get stuck into the real life challenges facing the charity sector that I would not have been exposed to in my normal day job. I’ve had the opportunity to find out more about the issues carers face across the community I live in, as well as shape services and support for them. It’s been very rewarding.
What does being a Trustee involve?
We have regular full Board meetings 6 times a year. The meetings typically last for 2 hours on a Thursday between 4pm-6pm and we discuss updates on the charity – for example, progress being made on funding bids, appointments of new staff and how the charity will respond to topical issues like the cost of living crisis to best support staff and carers.
Standing items on the agenda include Finance, Quality and Performance and Good Governance. Ahead of the meeting each Trustee receives detailed reports about everything from social media ‘hits’ on our website, to team updates and progress of some of our joint working projects with other local and regional charities.
We have an AGM every year that Trustees are asked to attend, and a number of events like Carers Rights Day in November and our Walk a Mile fundraiser to celebrate Carers Week in June. These events are a great opportunity to meet the carers that SCC support and hear from them about the challenges they face.
What is the role of a Trustee?
Our role as a board is to work together as a governance body to the charity. We are required to monitor things like the use of funds and the services SCC offers to make sure that the money the charity receives is spent in the best way. It’s a team effort and everyone on the board takes an active role in reviewing the targets agreed with Swindon Borough Council through quarterly monitoring and liaising with the leadership and management teams and other staff members to hear about successes and challenges.
The charity is very high-performing, awards we have won this year include the Wiltshire Life Charity of the Year for 2022 and a reaccreditation of the Trusted Charity quality mark at Level 2. We also won a national Charity Film of the Year award at a ceremony in London for a film our amazing Young Carer Forum worked on – called Baggage – you can watch it here.
Do I need any qualifications?
When you apply to be a Trustee you will be asked to discuss the skills and experience you bring to the role. For some of us on the board our backgrounds in HR, accountancy, being a carer, IT, legal, working in schools, company admin, social care, midwifery, governance and social media have all proven useful assets to the board. When you apply you will be given the opportunity to attend one of our meetings to see how everything works in practice. From there, if you’d like to join us you will have a detailed induction to help you get up to speed with the charity sector and the work we do. You will be asked to undergo a DBS check that is paid for by the charity.
Find out more
If you’d like to find out more – you can contact Hannah or Susanna Jones, CEO at Swindon Carers Centre, on the following email addresses: