FOR me, being a trustee is first and foremost about service. As you get older it’s very easy to lose social contact and I think what being a trustee does is allow you to use your life experiences to the benefit of the community.
Secondly, it’s about being identified with a cause that you’re passionate about – I think that’s critical.
You’ve got to be an advocate and an ambassador and I’m in the unusual position of being a living donor to the community foundation as well. I set up the Paul Cornes Fund in memory of my late partner Paul in 2020 and that allows me to keep his memory alive but, importantly, it also allows me to use his money to make sure good happens.
I enjoy the collegiate nature of working alongside staff and other trustees, and just getting that sense of having a common bond. I don’t just see being a trustee as just a series of meetings, they’re almost the by-product and by actually rolling your sleeves up and getting involved – meeting the beneficiaries, working alongside my fellow trustees and staff, being passionate – you get so much enjoyment out of it.
It’s a great word, I think, trusteeship.
It’s about being identified with a cause that you’re passionate about – I think that’s critical
I make no secret that I’m in the latter part of my 70s and I find that as a trustee I am still learning, which is quite something. It’s also exciting because every day I’m involved with the foundation I learn about the inequalities in Dorset and about new ways of communicating. I’m also obviously privileged to be working alongside very talented younger people.
It’s really important as you get older that you don’t feel somehow you are past your sell-by-date. Inevitably at my age, you’ve had a huge amount of life experiences and I think the great privilege is younger people want to talk to you about that.
They’re quite intrigued about the decades you’ve lived through because you’ve experienced things and because of what you’ve experienced, you’ve accrued knowledge and I suppose a little wisdom.
One other thing I always tell people about being a trustee is to ensure it is fun It’s really important because some of the stories you’re reading and the hardships you come across can get you down a bit.
I think it’s really important to remember the good that’s been done. I discovered the other day from our chief executive Grant Robson that in the first ten months of 2023 we’ve award £1 million in grants to groups and individuals.
That’s an outstanding achievement and I told Grant, it’s not just the million, it is the good it has done. My belief when I first joined as a trustee was that we could be bigger and better and much more impacting, and it has happened.
But it is the staff that have done it, I and my fellow trustees have just helped on the sidelines. The staff are the ones that do the graft, get the money in, deliver the grants and make sure it all goes out well. And that’s a fantastic achievement.
If anyone is interested in becoming a trustee they can call us on 01202 670815 or email email@example.com. We’ve also produced a trustee information pack that can be downloaded here.
You can also find out more about why being a trustee benefits you as well as the community here at the Trustees’ Week website.
Pictured: Dorset Community Foundation chairman Tom Flood CBE, centre, and with his late partner Paul Cornes