Trustees Week

TRUSTEES WEEK 2 – 8 November 2015


Yesterday was the start of Trustees’ Week 2015 and we were delighted to talk to Brenda Holden, Chair of Howgill Family Centre, about why she got involved with Howgill and what she enjoys about the role.

Brenda, how long have you been a Trustee for?

I joined Howgill when I retired from being a Primary School Head in September 2009 – so just over 6 years.

How did you get involved in the first place and why?

I obviously knew about Howgill Family Centre’s work and reputation through my association with them. They provided some services for children in my school – wrap around care, counselling and play therapy to name a few. I had known the Chief Executive of Howgill since teaching both of his children and he approached me when he knew I was retiring from teaching. I agreed to become a trustee as I was interested in exploring other avenues to keep me busy in retirement. At first I got involved with several other organisations. Gradually I dropped all the others and concentrated on my role with Howgill.

What do you enjoy about the role?

As this is a volunteer role I am able to pick and choose what aspects of the diverse work I get involved with. When I first joined I sat quietly in meetings for a while then began offering to help in areas where I had expertise – particularly in monitoring and evaluation of services (especially in Early Years), OFSTED inspections and Safeguarding.

My role grew as I became involved in these areas and I became Chair of Trustees in July 2015. The real enjoyment of the role is through working alongside a dedicated, committed and highly qualified professional body of people. They all put so much into their work and help so many children and families with such a wide variety of needs. The staff need and deserve all the support they can get and I’m keen to assist them in whatever way I can. We rely heavily on our volunteers as they help across all areas of our work – it’s always amazing to hear how they became involved with Howgill and how they personally have developed – many moving into further education and employment. Our Board of Trustees has developed over the years and, after a selection process, we now have a Board that reflects a diverse group with different backgrounds – education, industry, finance, media, legal and business.

At one time all of us were retired professionals but we now have younger members who are still in work which gives us a wider perspective when going about our business.

What would you say to someone considering getting involved?

Find out about the organisations in your local area – you may think you know a lot about what’s going on until you start to ask! Most organisations are like Howgill and need volunteers at all levels so you could become involved in an area that interests you, but always be open to getting involved in something very new to you. What can you lose? Just beware – you may find you love what you do and become more and more involved!!

Anything else you’d like to say about being a Trustee?

It’s rewarding to give something to the community whilst building up a network of contacts and using some of the skills and expertise you have, as well as gaining new ones. Try it!

Thanks to Brenda for sharing! We’ll be talking to more Trustees later in the week on our Facebook page.