F MG 1184 group of trustees and volunteersAcross the UK, over 16,000 trained parent volunteers support thousands of families who are struggling to cope; but we also need another kind of volunteer - trustees!  Trustees are the men and women who help guide local Home-Starts and contribute to their leadership and direction so staff can manage the day-to-day operations and home-visiting volunteers can get on with the job of supporting local families.   

What kind of people are Home-Start trustees?

"Even if you think you have nothing to offer, you'll be surprised how much you can contribute as a trustee.  If you have a good supply of common sense and a concern for the well-being of families, then there is a role for you." Jenny, Trustee Home-Start Leith

Our trustees come from all walks of life, bringing their experience and individual skills to our local Home-Starts.  The kind of skills that are in demand are business or personnel management, finance and fundraising, IT and communications. However, you don't need special qualifications to be a trustee - common sense, flexibility, time, an ability to work as part of a team, a willingness to learn, understanding of the pressures facing parents today and a genuine interest in supporting parents in your community are just as important to us.

What is a Home-Start trustee?

A Home-Start trustee is a volunteer who sits on the trustee board of a local Home-Start ('scheme'). Each scheme is an independent charity and being a trustee is all about the governance of the charity - planning how it will achieve its goals.  Trustees aren't responsible for the day-to-day running of the scheme, but they do carry out a wide range of duties and are responsible for making the charity effective, providing overall direction and the sound management of funds.  Being a trustee can be hard work and you will need to be able to respond to demand, but it is also rewarding, giving many opportunities for personal development and the chance to give something back to your local community.  Without volunteer trustees, our local Home-Starts couldn't exist and families and children wouldn't get the support they need.

What does a Board of Trustees do?

"I felt my experience and skills were going to waste until I was asked to join Home-Start.  Now I feel that both Home-Start and I benefit by me being a trustee." Graham, Trustee Mid Suffolk

Men shaking handsTheir job is to ensure the resources of the charity are used effectively, so Home-Start can do what it is meant to (support families and children).  The board is led by its chair, and trustees are jointly responsible for good governance and employment of the staff team.  The board works with staff and advisors to find the funding needed, develop Home-Start's services, monitor and report on how well the charity is doing and file returns to regulatory bodies.  The board's activities are varied and challenging, but also hugely rewarding. Working with staff and home-visiting volunteers, the board of trustees has a positive impact on the lives of local families. 

How much of my time will it take?

Home-Start trustees should expect to spend around 3-5 hours per month on their duties.  It is an important role, carrying legal and financial responsibilities, which will require time and commitment.  A trustee who takes on added commitment - perhaps as Treasurer or Chair - will have to give more time to the role.  However, Home-Start trustees are supported all the way.  You will have a thorough induction, be invited to national training courses and events, have access to a Home-Start intranet full of information and guidance on all aspects of running a local Home-Start and have the support of Home-Start UK, which exisits to provide schemes with guidance and support. 

 What will I get out of it?

Trustees volunteer because they want to be involved in their community and improve the lives of parents and children.  What they get back is the satisfaction of knowing that they have helped make a real difference.  In many cases, being a trustee can enhance an individual's skills and knowledge, build confidence and provide many opportunities for personal development, for future employment, provide a focus for an active retirement or a sense that their spare time has been put to good use. The following case study is a true story showing how one person went from being a supported family to becoming chairperson of her local Home-Start! Read more....

What should I do next?

Contact the office on 01955 609163 for an informal chat, or click on the attachments for further information. 





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