"Being a trustee is a great way to use your skills and experience in a voluntary capacity and really feel that you are making a difference"

"Being a trustee is a great way to use your skills and experience in a voluntary capacity and really feel that you are making a difference"

11th February, 2020

Trustees are crucial to the management of charitable organisations; each person brings a different set of skills and knowledge and collectively they ensure that an organisation is working in the best interests of the people it supports. We talked to three of our current trustees; Julia, Gary and Sue who shared their experiences of working with Headway Cambridgeshire.

Julia’s husband used Headway Cambridgeshire’s services after a brain injury, and she was keen share her personal experience of being his carer, joining the board in 2016. "As a trustee I feel that I am part of the organisation and that I have a role to play in the provision of services to people with brain injury in Cambridgeshire. I am also rewarded by sharing the learning that I gained from dealing with my husband’s brain injury.” An extra benefit of being on the board has been the connections made with other trustees, “I have got involved in some academic research at University of East Anglia through a connection made by being a trustee. I would never have had this opportunity otherwise.”

Julia explains the role of a trustee on the board; she says “My role is to help guide the organisation in strategic decisions and direction. I do this by giving input at regular board meetings and through other communications or pieces of work that I might be involved with as and when needed.”

She also highlights the importance of supporting the CEO. “It is our responsibility to keep in touch with what is happening within the organisation and also to make as many useful connections for the benefit of Headway Cambridgeshire where we can.” Sue adds that the trustees “pick up specific tasks that fit with particular skills and experience”, for example as well as line managing and supervising the CEO, she also helps with "thinking about clinical service provision changes, interviewing possible trustees and reviewing policies for the organisation."

Sue is in her second term as a trustee and has been on the board for 4 ½ years; “I’ve been a supporter of Headway Cambridgeshire for the last 30 years, as a clinician working locally in the field of brain injury rehabilitation. When I felt my personal life was settled and I had a bit of time, I wanted to give back a little and decided to offer my services as a trustee….I like the interactions with the other trustees, it gives me a different perspective on management from my day job. I’ve learnt so much about how a charity operates and I love that I can help to make a difference by sharing my knowledge, skills and time.”

Gary joined the board in October 2018 as our finance trustee. He says, “When I was interviewed, I was excited about the opportunity….In the first few months in the role I learned a lot, both about the financial information available within the organisation and about the charity itself.  Now I get a tremendous feeling of teamwork working with the management team to prepare for each board meeting.”

Regarding the role of a trustee, Gary says, “It’s about making sure we become a “trusted adviser” by sharing the right information in our own area of expertise and also about asking the right questions when we are presented with information from other functional areas.”

Due to his background, Gary’s job on the board is focused on finance matters. He explains his role; “I work with the Headway team to make sure we are legally compliant in financial matters – this may not be glamorous but it is critically important. I also work with the Headway team to make sure that, between us, we provide the appropriate level of reporting to the Board of Trustees.”

If you’re thinking of applying for one of our trustee vacancies, Sue says, “Give it a go – it’s a pleasure to be involved in an organisation that makes a difference to people who are living with the consequences of brain injury. It's inspiring to be part of Headway Cambridgeshire, the staff are so dedicated to what they do…it’s infectious!”

We are currently recruiting trustees, including a Chair. For further details, you can read the role descriptions below or contact Kathy Bullock, Chief Executive on 01223 576550.

To apply for a role, please send a CV and supporting statement to Kathy Bullock at kathyb@headway-cambs.org.uk

Headway Cambridgeshire casts its magic on people. It brings out the best in all of us.