Lincolnshire charity calls on people to make a difference in their communities this Trustees' Week
We all have an honest friend we can go to when we need the truth - we know they have our best interests at heart and if they must say something that's difficult to hear it's only because they want us to do well.
And that's exactly what a charity trustee does.
With Trustees' Week coming up (November 7 to 13), Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service (LCVS) wants people to consider the difference they could make as a trustee.
The week is all about highlighting opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved and make a difference.
In the same way that behind every school there is a board of voluntary governors holding headteachers to account and acting as a "critical friend", behind every charity there is a board of trustees doing exactly the same.
Working in Boston, East Lindsey, South Holland and South Kesteven, LCVS is both a charity itself, with a board of trustees of its own, and works to support community groups and charitable organisations.
David Fannin, chief executive of LCVS, said: "Trustees bring a wealth of experience and knowledge. Having that pool of expertise helps all charities to make better decisions and stay on track to deliver what they are set up to deliver."
It can be notoriously difficult to fill trustee positions but it is vital to enable charities to continue with the work they do.
Just a few of the organisations LCVS works with recently seeking trustees include Len Pick Trust, in Bourne; Boston's Butterfly Hospice; Citizen's Advice East Lindsey and Grantham Food Bank.
Trustees are the people in charge of a charity. They play a vital role, volunteering their time and working together to make important decisions about the charity's work.
They have and must accept ultimate responsibility for directing the affairs of a charity, and ensuring that it is solvent, well-run, and delivering the charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public for which it has been set up.
But their role is not just a legal requirement. Trustees enrich charities and the work they do can be enriching for their lives too.
Graham Scorthorne, of Gedney, is chairman of the trustees for LCVS.
He said: "I may not know all the answers but I quite likely know someone who can come up with the answer.
"It's good to have something that's mentally very stimulating - having to work out, as in any professional environment, what is the best thing to do to move the organisation forward.
"It most certainly keeps the brain active and it's putting something back into society. This is a way to volunteer and use the skills I have acquired over many years in a really positive way.
"The happier board meetings are the better, but we must not ignore the fact you are there to ensure the organisation is on track in all respects."
He said key aspects of being a trustee include:
- Finding the core values of an organisation and keeping it on track to deliver those;
- Being part of the community and keeping eyes and ears open for ways to help the organisation or how the organisation can help others - so much of it is about making connections;
- Becoming involved in all aspects of the organisation, including staffing, finance - particularly being innovative about how to bring in funding;
- Being a "critical friend".
It really doesn't matter who you are or what your background, if you have an interest in the aims of an organisation you can make a valuable contribution.
If you're interested in becoming a trustee contact LCVS for information on the organisations you could work with in your area, via www.lincolnshirecvs.org.uk , emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling LCVS on 01205 510888. Also find Lincolnshire CVS on Facebook and Twitter.