Friday, 14 October 2011

Alex Swallow's story...

Alex Swallow is a trustee of Centre 404, a charity that works in Islington and Camden providing support for people with learning disabilities and their families. Alex joined Centre 404’s Housing Committee after he moved to London and was looking for something to root him to the local area. He was then asked if he wanted to be a trustee. As a young trustee, Alex also set up a group on the online network LinkedIn called Young Charity Trustees, to encourage more young people to consider trusteeship and to support young people who are already trustees.

He says being a trustee involves both ‘giving and gaining’:

“The best thing about being a trustee on the ‘giving’ side is that I am able to be a small part of an amazing, dynamic organisation and see people who walk the walk as well as talk the talk around issues of inclusion. On the ‘gaining’ side, I also learn so much from my trustee role that is relevant to my day job.

“It is a real shame that many people think being a trustee is only for older people. (I used to think it was mainly for retired people, for example!) Good trustee boards need a turnover of members with new people coming on board who are prepared to ask the 'silly' questions and re-evaluate the direction and methods of the charity.

“I set up Young Charity Trustees to help tackle this very problem and Trustees’ Week is an extremely welcome campaign. Bringing in younger trustees is only part of the battle. Bringing in trustees from ethnic minorities, for example, is just as important. Trusteeship is a fantastic journey and I would urge people to grab any opportunity to be a trustee with both hands.”

If you are a young person looking for a trustee position or a little older with valuable advice to pass on, you can join the ‘Young Charity Trustees’ group on LinkedIn here.

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