Our new chair-elect announced as quartet of trustees join board

Former charity chief will 'aim high and go for it'

Our new chair-elect announced as quartet of trustees join board

FORMER charity chief executive and businessman Tom Flood is the chair-elect of Dorset Community Foundation.

Tom, who took over at the helm of The Conservation Volunteers during a 26-year career there, became involved with the community foundation when he set up a fund supporting young people in memory of his late partner Paul Cornes.

He will take over the role from Jeremy Mills in December and is one of four new trustees to join the community foundation since the end of last year.

Dorset Community Foundation director Grant Robson said: “I’d like to thank Jeremy Mills for all of the support and encouragement he has given over the past few years. His contribution has been enormous.

The chairman-elect said: “I am enormously proud and honoured to be asked to be the chair-elect because my personal interest means I would like this organisation to be a real shining light of Dorset. With the new trustees coming in we have a great opportunity, with the calibre and the background of these people, to do that.”

Tom, who also had a sales career with 3M, moved to Dorset in 2012 with his partner, who was a passionate advocate for young peoples’ education. Mr Cornes was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017 and died last year.

“Paul always told me to aim high and go for it,” he said. “He’s the reason I’m involved and he’s the reason I will approach this with total passion and professionalism, because I couldn’t possibly let him down.”

Former chief fire officer Terry Standing will become the community foundation’s new vice-chair after joining at the end of last year.

The passionate sailer will combine the new role with his ‘day job’ of skippering the 72ft former BT Global Challenge yachts for The Tall Ships Youth Trust. The trust takes young people who may have been mentally and physically abused to sea to give them life skills. We generally sail the south coast but we also take them down to northern Spain, Gran Canarias, across the Atlantic and the Caribbean.

Terry, who spent 31 years in the fire and rescue service, ending his career as Gloucestershire’s Chief Fire Officer,  only took up sailing 12 years ago but is now a qualified yacht master. “I’m quite late to sailing but generally when I get involved with something I like to do it well,” he said.

“I am at sea ten or 11 months of the year, but I manage to fit work for Dorset Community Foundation into that as well because I want to make a difference.”

While in Gloucestershire he became involved with the community foundation there, eventually being appointed vice-chair, so he knows all about their qualities.

“We are that golden thread that links wealthy people in the county with those who are disadvantaged through a range of charities and individuals so I do see it as the number one place for supporting communities,” he said.

New trustee Deb Appleby also knows all about the value of community foundations after being chief executive of Quartet, the community foundation for South Gloucestershire, Bristol and Bath and North Somerset.

She also has a background in local authorities after a spell at Dorset Council and was also involved at Surrey Community Foundation and a large national charity funder.

She left her last role last year but responded to a plea for voluntary assessors for Dorset Coronavirus Community Fund grants last March. “It was a good way of getting a feel for what was going on in Dorset,” she said. ”The response was central to what community foundations are good at, which is getting money to the grass roots.”

She was asked to become a trustee at the end last year. “I believe in community foundations because they have a unique ability to match funders who have a care for their local community with people who are rolling their sleeves up and doing something about it,” she said.

“It has a unique ability to direct local funding to good causes and quite often community foundations are a group’s first funder and that really helps to build their credibility and confidence and it is part of the fabric of support for the sector.”

I am enormously proud and honoured to be asked to be the chair-elect because my personal interest means I would like this organisation to be a real shining light of Dorset

When Louise Coulton and her husband Rob bought a holiday flat in Southbourne six years ago as a respite from life in London she had no idea it would lead to becoming a trustee in her adopted county.

“We started coming down on a Saturday and going back on a Sunday, then it was coming down on Friday and then it was going back on Monday, we gradually spent more and more time here,” she said. “Three years ago we sold our house in London and made a permanent move here.”

After a 25-year career in financial services, 14 in compliance, starting with the Financial Services Regulator, she said she can use her experience to aid the community foundation. “I want to do something where I am giving something back where I can actually use the skills I have developed to really help people’s lives and help improve the community,” she said.

Louise, who became a trustee at the end of last year after seeing the role advertised, said she is also partly motivated by her own background. “I grew up in London and started working when I was 15 to help my mum pay the bills, I had free school meals and got second hand clothes given to me,” she said.

“I was lucky when I went to university that I got a full grant but young people don’t have that these days. That’s why it is so good that the community foundation gives disadvantaged students laptops and pay for courses, this resonates with me because I wouldn’t be where I am without the support I had.”

She said she has been impressed by the huge range of groups the community foundation supports. “It is great because of the variety of the projects that we are helping and being on the grants and impacts committee allows me to see the applications that are coming through,” she said.

“If something has merit we will try as hard as we can to give them some support. We are trying our best to help as much as we can.”

Louise, who has taken up sea swimming since her move to the county, added: “It’s not just about giving groups financial support but also advice or putting them in touch with peers who can give them assistance. There’s real commitment, not only from Grant and his team but from the trustees to really grow the community foundation and make it even better.”

Grant said of the new additions to the board: “It’s a very challenging time for the voluntary sector but it is also exciting for us to bring all of this experience and knowledge on board. The responsibility we have to communities in Dorset is greater than ever but having such energy and expertise behind us will be an enormous asset.”

Find out more about the work of Dorset Community Foundation at dorsetcommunityfoundation.org.

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