Trustees' Stories; Why I Became a Trustee Alan has been a trustee of Advocacy Focus for two years. Here, he tells us how he became involved with our charity, his journey to trusteeship and a little about the role of trustee: “Having spent over 30 years in the Charity Commission, the regulator of charities in England and Wales, I became very attached to the charitable sector and the work it did. On many an outreach event I got to know, at first hand, many of the issues and problems that faced charities and in particular charity trustees. “When the opportunity of voluntary redundancy presented itself, I jumped at the offer. I was then in the position of having considerable experience and knowledge of the sector, a desire to make a difference and a lot of free time on my hands. And then I saw an advert inviting me to be a volunteer with Advocacy Focus. I was surprised at the variety and complexity of the work in which advocates were involved. I was amazed at the level of skill and expertise. “I received some excellent training as part of my induction and work shadowed a number of the full time advocates. I was surprised at the variety and complexity of the work in which advocates were involved. I was amazed at the level of skill and expertise. I learned a lot but as it happens I was never going to get the opportunity to do it myself. “As part of the process of development I was asked to provide a brief summary of my experience. At that time, the senior management team were supporting the board of trustees in the identification of prospective trustees. Apparently my CV fitted one of the criteria they were looking for. “A short interview with a couple of board members and a brief induction process ended with my formal appointment in 2016. “Along with the other trustees I now contribute to the overall management of the charity. The board of trustees are responsible for ensuring that the charity carries out its purpose, in accordance with the law. This involves the long term planning of what the charity will do, how it will do it and ensuring that the appropriate resources (particularly money and people) are available to carry out those plans. We have a responsibility to ensure, on a regular basis that funds are being used appropriately. It also involves ensuring that the right support is available to staff, volunteers and beneficiaries. “We meet as a board of trustees about every six weeks. However, the trustees do not get directly involved in the day today operation of the organisation and I never did get to be a volunteer Advocate. Nevertheless, I am delighted to say that I often volunteer to “sit in with advocates” on home visits (we have a policy that advocates do not visit the homes of clients alone) and I get to see at first hand just one small part of the fantastic work that the charity continues to deliver.” “I am extremely proud of the work that Advocacy Focus does and the difference we make to people that need our support. I am consistently impressed with the calibre of work that we deliver. And I am honoured and privileged to be a trustee of such a very special organisation.” We are on the lookout for new Trustees to join the Advocacy Focus board – please contact John or Justine on 0300 323 0965 for more information.