What do you mean? Be on the Board for nothing?
I have been a Human Resources Executive for over 30 years for a large company in West Sussex. I was looking forward to and planning my retirement; some more time with my family, flexibility and new experiences. I have bags of energy but never did I think I’d be joining a charity and contributing in so many ways.
My interest has always been in people and making work and home life better for them – hence I was in HR for so long. The way we treat our staff is vital to the business being successful and the same is true with volunteers. If people feel valued, they do their best in my experience.
I hadn’t considered volunteering as part of my retirement, thinking it may be too restricting. It was the advert in the paper for Trustees with HR skills that grabbed me, and a registered charity supporting local people. I was happy to learn more about what I was required to commit to, and the time needed and then follow the recruitment process. In the summer of 2017 I was appointed to Home-Start’s Board, along with other new Trustees. We went through the induction together which was helpful. The aims of the Charity resonated strongly with me, it’s a small charity that makes a difference locally.
This year is our 18th year and there have been special events to attend, learn more about Home-Start across the UK and in Arun, Worthing & Adur, the challenges of funding for the charity sector and meet staff and other committed volunteers. I’ve met the Chief Executive of Home-Start UK and quizzed him on all things West Sussex! I’ve attended high quality training. I’ve met other like-minded people on the Board and the volunteers who support the families who need our help. All families can have a tough time, no-one has a smooth path is what saw in my HR roles.
I’m able to put to good use my HR skills by working with the Manager and reviewing staff processes. But also, they surprised me by asking me to be Father Christmas at the Christmas Party for Families and I was a little nervous at first, but with the costume on and support from the team I enjoyed myself – and so did the children thankfully!
I am pleased to have joined a thriving local charity and the opportunities go way beyond what I thought I could contribute. Next on my list is to support the fundraising abseil at Arundel Castle on 30th September – but they’re not sending me down on a rope. I’ll be on the ground wishing the participants a well-deserved congratulations!