This month Fiona Mitchell talks to human resources expert Jane Vines and Geoff Lane, a former partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to find out just what it takes to be a trustee for Crossroads Care Richmond and Kingston upon Thames.
What motivated you to become a trustee?
Geoff: ‘When I stopped working, I realised I’d need more than playing golf or going fishing to stay happy and healthy. I’ve always had a sense of purpose in my working life and if you took that away, I’d find that hard. I volunteered for Crossroads during the pandemic and saw the vital work they do supporting Carers, so I wanted to stay involved. During my induction as a trustee, I saw the patience and skill the staff need to look after a child living with cerebral palsy, allowing the parents valuable respite time. The family told me that without Crossroads’ support, they’d find it hard to cope.’
Jane: ‘I saw an advert for a trustees’ recruitment event across Richmond. It sounded like a great way of giving back to my local community, so I went along. It was set up like speed dating. I talked with Crossroads first and immediately felt that this was a brilliant gem of a charity with a fantastic team of people.’
What does being a charity trustee bring to your life?
Geoff: ‘It’s easy to live life just seeing the people you normally see, but this work takes you out of your comfort zone and brings you human connections, ideas and insights you wouldn’t otherwise have. Social care is such an important issue and what we’re doing with Crossroads, providing strategic leadership and support, is making a real difference to the lives of Carers and those they care for and the lives of the Care Support Workers.’
Jane: ‘It’s a win-win: I use and develop my skillsets and experience while seeing clearly how the charity makes a positive difference to people’s lives.’
Any advice to those thinking of becoming a charity trustee?
Geoff: ‘Think about what you can give to the organisation. You can’t just do it because you’re being benevolent, you have to be really engaged, committed and passionate about the work to be effective.’
Crossroads Care is currently searching for new trustees, particularly one with marketing experience. For more information on the role, contact email@example.com or call 020 8943 9421.
Fiona Mitchell is Media and Communications Officer
at Crossroads Care Richmond and Kingston. She is also the author of two novels, The Maid’s Room and The Swap.