What makes someone give their free time to become a charity trustee?

For Trustees' Week 2023, we asked three trustees from local Home-Start's around the UK to tell us their story.

Ravelle Moses, Forensic Social Worker; Colin Millar, retired School Principal and author; and Emile Pinel, A retired regional charity CEO, share how they became Home-Start trustees:

Ravelle Moses, Trustee, Home-Start Nottingham

After doing some research on Home-Start, my first thought was wow, I could have done with that kind of support as a parent!”

Ravelle's journey with Home-Start began when she saw an advert for trustees on a charity roles website. Initially uncertain if she was right for the role, she has now been in position at Home-Start Nottingham for four years, fitting it in with her busy schedule as a parent and a Forensic Social Worker at a secure hospital.

Ravelle says, “I really wasn’t sure if I was the right person for the job or even if I’d be able to do it. I decided to contact the Chair for an informal chat where it was explained in more detail. I knew straight away it was a charity I wanted to offer my time to. Home-Start is such an amazing organisation and the beauty of it is that anyone and everyone can make a difference. We are a community supporting the community.

My current and past jobs have been related to mental health and child protection, so there is synergy there, but you learn so much from the other trustees too. The board are very supportive, we work as a team, important decisions are made, and we are held accountable, as we should be. There are 11 of us on the board now, it’s a great, diverse group with different backgrounds in terms of work, ethnicity, gender, and age.

"With Home-Start, it’s evident that no matter how big or small a contribution, it can carry a heavy weight. Families need us now more than ever.

Ravelle's final words to prospective trustees: "I really enjoy being a trustee. If you are thinking of joining – do it! I am very glad I did”.

Colin Millar MBE, Trustee, Home-Start North Down

“I had been very ill for some time and then sadly my wife passed away. These two life-changing events made it very difficult for me to continue working. It was hard to adapt to being on my own and being retired, I was so used to being busy. A friend recommended I apply to be a Home-Start trustee. It was a no-brainer for me, here I am three years later”.

Colin Millar is a trustee for Home-Start North Down, in Northern Ireland. Colin worked within the special education sector for 32 years. With a life dedicated to child development, support and education, he was no stranger to Home-Start and had seen first-hand the impact of having support in the home for children and families. 

Colin says, “I knew of Home-Start from my past roles and knew it was something I’d like to be involved in. The early years are so important. Being a trustee was a way I could continue helping the community and helping young children, I get the feeling that I can still make a difference even though I'm retired, which is wonderful”. 

Becoming a trustee at Home-Start North Down has given Colin a sense of purpose and he feels it has also aided his recovery from illness, enabled him to continue following his passion as well as the opportunity to develop his skills. 

"It’s such a worthwhile thing to do. You don’t have to come from a support, education, or similar background, you can come from any profession. All types of skills are required to stand on the board of trustees, we all learn from each other. 

To anyone thinking about becoming a trustee, it’s a very enlightening experience, you have the privilege to contribute to supporting so many vulnerable children and families in the area you live, bringing happiness into the home”.

Emile Pinel, Chair, Home-Start Manchester

“I knew I still had something to offer!”

Former CEO of a regional charity, Emile began his Home-Start journey following a life-changing illness which led to his early retirement five years ago.

“I fell ill with severe bacterial meningitis. I had to retire, but I didn’t want to leave the sector completely. I still wanted to help in some way, do something worthwhile. So, I started volunteering my time as a trustee, and for 10 months now, I have been the chair of Home-Start Manchester”.

Working with a board that have a wide range of backgrounds and ways of thinking is something Emile values highly.

“It’s the diversity of thinking that’s the most important. We all bring our own skills to the table. With Home-Start, we see the results in the families we support in the form of improved mental health, increased confidence, and empowerment and that's a great thing to be part of, it’s a wonderful feeling". 

Emile tells us, “I don’t have any children. I think people are always a bit surprised and ask, ‘Why do you care so much about Home-Start and it’s ethos if you don’t have children yourself’, but that's not how the world works, is it? Of course, you can care deeply about young people, their welfare and their education, without having had them yourself.

Home-Start is such an important charity, one which I am proud to be a part of. The strength of the charity comes from building relationships and trust. Volunteers, families, trustees, and staff, we’re all part of one thing trying to, and succeeding in, improving the lives of children”.

Home-Start UK would like to thank all the trustees in our network for their dedication and commitment. Becoming a trustee is one of the most powerful ways you can contribute to your local community while using and building a wealth of skills. In these challenging economic times, the work being done by Home-Start trustees has never been more important.

Apply to be a Home-Start UK trustee 

Find out about being a local Home-Start trustee

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