Trustee Week: Give your time as a trustee

Somerset people are being encouraged to support their local community and expand their skills by becoming a trustee during Trustee Week (7 to 13 November 2016).

Trustees play a vital role in supporting voluntary and community groups of all sizes in Somerset. There are currently hundreds of people of all ages and backgrounds, with lots of different professional and personal experiences who give their time as trustees.

Trustees (who might also be called directors, governors, committee members or board members) ensure that an organisation has a clear set of goals and have a legal responsibility for the organisation’s work.

Cllr John Osman, Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “Trustees’ Week is an annual event to showcase the great work that trustees do; they are the people in charge of a charity and with their help the UK is the sixth most giving country in the world.

“People from all walks of life can get involved as a trustee and make a difference to their communities or a cause they believe in. I urge everyone to have a look at all the different opportunities that are available in Somerset and get involved.”

Liz Simmons, from the Somerset Voluntary Sector Strategic Forum, said: “There are lots of reasons why you might become a trustee. You may get involved in a cause or issue you care passionately about or because you or your family have been touched by the work of a particular organisation. You might want to gain experience of working at a strategic level because you want a new challenge. You might want to develop your CV or you may even be considering a career change to the charity sector.

“There is no doubt that trustees are key to good voluntary organisations and the more effective the trustees the better the organisation will be and the greater the difference it will make.”

Some trustees are retired, but many are working full-time or part time and find that they can fit being a trustee around work, home and other commitments.

Sophie Davies is a Trustee of the Somerset Rural Youth Project.  Sophie is just starting her career with a specialist commercial property law firm in Taunton after graduating from University in 2013. The idea of being a trustee was daunting for her at first, but it has given her great insight of how a charity works and has also provided fantastic development opportunities at a strategic level.

Jan Ross is one of many Trustees across Somerset who give their time to several organisations. One of the organisations Jan supports is Dulverton Community Hall in her home town. This organisation has recently been working with the local community to develop a very successful thrift shop to raise funds that will cover the running costs of the listed community building.

There are lots of ways to get involved. For people living in South Somerset, Mendip and Sedgemoor visit https://do-it.org/organisations/volunteer-centre-mendip-sedgemoor

People who want to find out about Trustee roles in West Somerset and Taunton Deane should contact Engage Voluntary Sector Development.

Taunton Deane: https://do-it.org/organisations/engage-taunton-volunteers

West Somerset: https://do-it.org/organisations/west-somerset-volunteer-centre

If being a trustee is not for you but you are keen to do more in your community, you can find other volunteer opportunities at https://do-it.org/

There are also a number of volunteer roles that support the work of the County Council. You can find these by visiting: https://www.somersetvolunteer.co.uk/