Having joined the Board of Trustees in May 2020, I have not regretted applying for a second. Being a Trustee is a great way to shape the direction of the charity, to be the critical friend to ensure the charity is as successful as possible, and to give back to the charity for the amazing work they do. While COVID has been a massive disruptive force, it has been incredible to see what the hard-working staff at Potential Plus UK have been able to achieve over the last few months, and it will be exciting to see what more can be delivered through the National Lottery Community Fund grant. What I intend to outline are the key aspects of the role of being a Trustee, and what I have thought about the experience so far.
We have Board meetings on average once every two months, and trustees beforehand will spend a few hours reading the board papers. Papers will include information on the financial position of the charity, how the running of the charity is going, and specific policy proposals for trustees’ consideration. Its insightful to see some of what goes on within the charity, and a great way to gain the necessary information to make informed decisions at Board.
When we get to the Board meeting, the time is reserved to hear an update from Julie, to discuss the content of the papers, and to vote on policy choices. The Board has a very constructive atmosphere, and I always find it interesting to hear the thoughts of the other trustees, all the better when the trustees all come from a wide variety of backgrounds and occupations. Since joining the Board I have felt welcomed from the first moment, and the experience of sitting on the Board I have found invaluable for preparing for work in professional settings.
The Board very recently has set up two committees, the Executive Committee (focused on financial matters) and the Communications Committee (focused on stakeholder engagement), and I sit on the Communications Committee. The committees are composed of members of the Board split equally over both groups, with the committees drawing on expert advice from Potential Plus UK staff. We also meet once every two months (just before full Board meetings), and we similarly read pre-prepared papers to shape our discussion.
As a member-driven charity, we structure our Communications Committee meetings by focusing on individual stakeholder groups to ensure that the services we provide are tailored to their needs. I believe the work that we are conducting is so important, and the time allocated to this committee gives us the space to reflect on what more we can do. I know our annual members survey will be sent out soon, and the information this will provide is invaluable for shaping our future work. I encourage all members to fill this out to ensure we can take your views into account.
The third and final part of my role is project work; since joining the Board I have become involved in two projects. The first of these projects is the vPlus Festival – I provided some advice about the technical aspects of running the digital festival, and in addition I suggested potential workshop leaders. I know vPlus has since been moved into early next year to allow us to put on an even larger festival, and I very much look forward to seeing what the team can produce.
The other project I have been leading alongside two other trustees is the relaunch of a Youth Board. Having been a successful idea previously, it seemed a missed opportunity not to revive it to ensure the decisions made by the Board of Trustees are for young people, shaped by young people. I hope to write another blog soon when the project is ready to launch as we are still finalizing some parts of this. I think you can agree though it is an exciting opportunity for young people to get involved with which will help them to build employability skills, give them an avenue for their creativity, and no doubt lead to further innovation in terms of what the charity can offer. I also found it heartening to hear the support from members at our AGM regarding this project proposal, and it was great to see the AGM being so engaging more widely. Fingers crossed we will have more to share soon!
I once again want to say a massive thank you to all staff for the amazing amount of effort and energy they have put in over the last few months. I also hope to soon be able to launch the Youth Board alongside my fellow trustees, and I would encourage all members to make sure to fill out the annual members survey so that we can take your views into account within our decision-making. The experience of being a trustee so far has been incredibly rewarding, and I look forward to sharing more with members soon.
To see more information about Daniel and the other trustees of Potential Plus UK, visit our webpage Our Experts