#TrusteesWeek Louise Woodgates’ story

Trustees’ Week is an annual event to showcase the great work that trustees do and highlight opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved and make a difference.

 

Being a trustee involves taking on significant responsibilities and time commitments and the role is almost always unpaid

 

Trustees Week is a fantastic opportunity to thank your trustees for the work that they do.

As part of this, we’re giving organisations the chance to have a governance health check, and catching up with Trustees themselves to tell their story.

 

This is Louise Woodgate’s story why she’s a Trustee:

I am a retired senior lecturer, I taught science and medical students, genetics and immunology for 20 years at Cardiff University and prior to this worked as a leukaemia research scientist. I have volunteered in one form or another for many years, from involvement in running sports clubs, young farmers clubs and as a school governor. I am currently a trustee for two charities, a charity for the homeless and vulnerable and a local village hall, two quite different organisations and roles.

Most of my time as a trustee is spent with the first of these charities HCT (Helping Caring Team). The volunteers of HCT work tirelessly for the homeless and vulnerable in southeast Wales providing humanitarian aid in the form of food, toiletries, clothes, sleeping bags, tents and any other items that are required.

I feel as a trustee it is important to use your knowledge and experience gained from other aspects of your life to support the charity you are involved with. As a trustee I am involved with HCT in two main areas, one is working with the other trustees to devise strategy and direction for the charity and to help to resolve day to day issues. The other is in my dual role of treasurer and director of development. So, day to day I make sure the charity is financially organised and sustainable. I apply for funds from grant awarding organisations and keep the books. I am currently preparing our accounts for our annual return for the Charity Commission. I have been involved with HCT for about two years and got involved because I was inspired and motivated by the volunteers who work for HCT and especially our founder and chair Hayley Thomas who I have known for many years. I believe I can offer some skills that would be of benefit to the charity and would enable the volunteers who work at the coal face to carry on long-term with this work without added burden of doing the “paperwork” I am in the background but making sure the work can continue.  For anyone considering taking on a role as a trustee find out as much as you can about the charity you become involved with, and what your role as a trustee would involve, the scope of this role can vary from attending meetings and providing advice to a much more hands on role with the day-to-day work of the charity, this usually depends on the size of the charity. Find a charity which would benefit from the experience and knowledge you can bring to the role. It is hard work at times but extremely rewarding, and as a retiree I feel I can still contribute to society in a meaningful way for many years to come.

HCT also has an advocacy service to help people to access the services and agencies that may help to improve their lives. As a small charity HCT are void of bureaucracy and has a short chain of communication, so we can make decisions fast and act fast to help those that need us. Quick action is essential and even more so recently with the current economic climate and an increase in those who need our help. If you want to get involved, we always need donations of food, clothes, and money, you can contact HCT through our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/HCThelpingcaringteam

By Patrick Downes

Comms Lead - Third Sector Development TVA