Thursday, 20 October 2011

Robbie Swale's story...

Robbie Swale is a trustee of Upstage Centre Youth Theatre and was previously a student officer of the Students Union whilst at University College London. Having lived in York for 18 months, Robbie was keen to put his energy into something new. He became a trustee of the youth theatre after a work colleague, who happened to be the charity’s Chair, suggested he join the board.

The charity has faced tough times financially over recent years but Robbie says he enjoys the challenge of his role:
“The best thing about being a trustee of Upstage Centre Youth Theatre is the challenge of it, of helping a really special but struggling organisation to fulfil its potential. In the bad times, our role as trustees is to do our best to make sure the organisation is at least OK, but it's also about guiding it towards the better times! Currently we pretty much do everything for the charity, because money has been a struggle over the last few years.

“That said, I would absolutely recommend trusteeship to others. It is really rewarding and an opportunity to leave an imprint, a contribution to something worthwhile. As a young person early in my career I have also benefitted from being a trustee by working in a new environment, which has given me useful, transferable skills. Trusteeship can be really valuable for people who want to move industries or change career direction. My particular role with the youth theatre has helped me move into working in the arts.

“I would say that to be a trustee you need to have the time and energy to give. It is particularly important that people only consider trusteeship if they have a length of time to give, I think it can take a couple of years of commitment to make a real impact on an organisation. And of course it's vital to be interested in the work the organisation does.

“I think Trustees’ Week is a great idea, and a really valuable campaign to get word out about trusteeship. The breadth of skills and experience that can make all the difference to charities isn’t readily available to them and this is a great way to widen the skills sets in charities across the country.”

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