Gerard’s Journey of Becoming a Trustee


Gerard is a semi-retired independent social worker, who volunteers as a trustee for Home-Start Richmond, Kingston and Hounslow. Home-Start provides support to families in the boroughs of Richmond, Kingston and Hounslow who have at least one child under the age of five. The support varies according to the needs of each individual family, but volunteers are there to listen, offer friendship in times of need, and practical help, for example, during playtime or outings.

“Having worked in the social care sector throughout my life, I decided that, given this background, I still had something to contribute to the wellbeing of the more vulnerable members of the community.”

“My experience in child protection has given me the expertise to impart in assessing risk in vulnerable families and meeting the needs of children who may have suffered, or be likely to suffer harm.”

“I deliver safeguarding training to prospective volunteers – something I have always enjoyed and believe to be of great importance. I have also benefited from advising the volunteer coordinators on safeguarding matters. Of particular importance has been my providing supervision to the senior coordinator, giving us both the opportunity to reflect on our professional practice while acknowledging the personal impact of sometimes distressing and worrying circumstances involving children.”

“I would recommend being a trustee without hesitation. I think it’s important for each and every one of us to recognise that there exists a high level of need in our community and that we all have a responsibility to respond to this and do our utmost to ameliorate the lives of those who need help.”

How to recruit a trustee

According to the Charity Commission, approximately one in five charities in the UK has a trustee vacancy indicating that there is definitely no shortage of opportunities.

So why is it a challenge for the charities to find a trustee with the right experience and skillset? If you are one of those charities facing similar challenge, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your approach towards trustee recruitment.

Every charity can build a strong board if it invests time and effort in trustee recruitment and retention. With our easy step by step guide, you can now reintroduce ways to finding your next trustee.

Step 1: Preparing for Trustee Recruitment

  • Identify skills and experience- determine gaps in the skills and experience within your board, consider the diversity of the board
  • Create an information pack- full description of the role, specific skills and experience you are seeking; an overview of the organisation, its priorities and strategies.

Step 2: The Recruitment Process

  • Promote the role– depending on your affordability and accessibility promote the role through Twitter, Facebook LinkedIn.
  • Use specialist platforms – Do-it and Trusteefinder or a recruitment firm and your immediate internal & external network.
  • Interview objectives – be clear of what qualities you are seeking (candidate’s understanding of the organisation, the role, and the difference between management and governance), have an honest dialogue about the challenges they might face, their expectations and objectives for applying. Above all, are they passionate towards the cause of the charity?

Step 3: Training, Induction and Review

  • Give trustees time and resources to help them become an effective member of the board. The Code of Good Governance and The Essential Trustee are some of the useful resources.
  • Monitoring and evaluation is the key to understanding the effectiveness of strategic management the board is responsible for, so take time to review the new appointment and see how they are settling in the role after 4 – 6 months.

Trustees’ Week 2019


What are Trustees?

Trustees, sometimes knows as directors, board members, governors or committee members, are volunteers who make decisions about how a charity organisation should run; ensuring that it is using it’s resources appropriately and working in the best interest of the beneficiaries and wider community. This means that the skills and experience that Trustees bring to charities are vital to the way that the organisations develop and evolve, making diversity in Trustees very important.

Research published in 2019 shows that diversity in Trustees in the UK could be much improved:

Only 2% of Trustees are young people
92% of Trustees are white
64% are male
​The average age of a Trustee in England and Wales is 59 years-old

These shocking statistics show that the people influencing the decisions made by charities are not reflective of the population and that equal representation in Trustees should be high on the agenda.

Who can become a Trustee?

Anyone who aspires to help a charity organisation achieve their goals and aims can become a Trustee and a huge range of skills could be valuable to the charity. For example, your social media skills could help a charity reach out to the public; or your ethnicity, religion or age may be able to bring a different viewpoint to represent a certain part of the community and ensure equal representation.
Volunteering as a Trustee is a rewarding role but one that most volunteers don’t tend to consider. Each organisation will expect its trustees to spend a different amount of time on the role but most Trustee roles involve meeting the rest of the board four to eight times a year and most trusteeship fits conveniently around work, home and other commitments.

Kingston Carnival 2019

The annual Kingston Carnival is fast approaching and we have opportunities for you to take part! This year, the carnival will be promoting the unity between the various cultures which live happily together in Kingston. At the family-friendly event there will be a range of different foods and music to celebrate cultures and encourage interaction within the borough community.

As well as bringing communities together, the carnival aims to encourage creative development and enhance artistic excellence in Kingston.

There will be a ‘Green Zone’ showcasing environmental issues and sustainability ideas. So, how can you get involved? Kingston Race and Equalities Council are looking for stewards to help with a large range of duties including directing the Carnival procession, stage helpers, clearing up and handing out leaflets. Apply for the role to be part of this vibrant cultural event on Sunday 1st September

Micro Volunteering Day 2019

So, what is micro volunteering? This flexible model of volunteering constitutes of small acts of kindness which can take many different forms. Micro volunteering is a way to give back to your neighbours, local or global community, or environment. There is no ongoing commitment or training necessary and these roles can be virtual, remote or in person.

To celebrate Micro Volunteering Day 2019, we made and dispersed seed balls! These balls of clay and compost are coated in seeds and thrown or planted in green areas. Sometimes known as ‘seed green-aides’, this environmental activism emerged from the Guerrilla Gardening movement in New York, ‘Seed Bombing’ or ‘Aerial Reforestation’ aims to populate urban areas with flora, providing food for bees and other insects.  

Some other micro volunteering ideas are: 

  • Offering to do the food shopping or pick up some essential items for a neighbour  
  • Two-minute litter pick  
  • Clearing up a local community green space  
  • Donating unwanted items to a charity shop  
  • Buying a homeless person a hot drink or sandwich  
  • Signing an online petition  
  • Research surveys and questionnaires like Zooniverse  

Volunteering is valuable and every minute counts; it’s important that we value every selfless contribution whether that take place over seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months or years.  

February ended in a blinding beam of sunlight and from this, March has emerged.

Not only does this month mark the start of spring, promising growth and new life. It brings International Women’s Day (IWD). Both a celebration of women and an opportunity to look hopefully towards a more equal future. The 2019 campaign theme is #BalanceforBetter, which calls for a more gender balanced world; “Better the balance, better the world”.

We have been thinking about non-working mothers and the potential of volunteering as a path to social enrichment and skill development.

26% of mothers do not work and nearly 1 in 5 parents reported they have deliberately stalled their careers. Taking a step back from paid employment need not mean that any parent sacrifices their personal or professional development. We believe strongly that volunteering can be a flexible means of enrichment, but it is vital that organisations actively create an accommodating work environment for this demographic.

A flexible working environment is the key to making volunteering opportunities accessible for all. Some ways that organisations may do this is through:

  • Term time working allows volunteers to take time off during the school holidays means they don’t need to find childcare over these periods and can enjoy time with their family
  • Role sharing means more perspectives, collaboration and more creative ways of working. This also allows multiple people to benefit from the voluntary placement
  • Working from home establishes trust and allows volunteers to emit travel time from their role. This may also save the organisation money if expenses are offered
  • Write full role descriptions to make sure volunteers know that you have an open and flexible working environment and that every contribution is valid regardless of the form it takes

Time To Talk Day 2019

1 in 4 will experience a mental health issue this year. However,  despite how common these experiences are, myths and misinformation make it difficult for people to ask for help and the subject often brings feelings of shame or embarrassment. Taking care of mental health in the work place and at home starts with one simple thing; speaking. It’s time to start talking about mental health.

Talking about mental health can seem like a minefield, you might be questioning whether you have the ability to support someone going through a tough time. Whether they are a friend or colleague, you can master the art of talking by learning to listen. Ask questions and try to really understand how they are feeling, this makes people feel acknowledged and cared about.

Once you’ve taken the first step and asked the person if they are okay, and they have said “Yes I’m fine”. Question ‘Are they really fine?’. If you’re not sure, ask twice to help them open up. They might not be ready to talk yet, but communicating that you are there for them and ready to listen means they are more likely to ask for help when they are ready to talk.

People experiencing mental health problems want to be treated without judgement. You don’t need to become someone’s therapist to help them. A message with a silly joke or a funny video can be a spark of light in a dark time. Try keeping up contact with someone, inviting them out to do normal things can help them see a way out of the bad place they are in. Make sure they know that you care.

Talking Mental Health at Work

“Self-esteem is as important to our well-being as legs are to a table. It is essential for physical and mental health and for happiness.”
– Louise Hart

The working environment is a tricky environment for discussing personal topics, such as mental health. How can we foster an atmosphere which allows for discussion about mental health? The key is to make employees or volunteers feel valued and comfortable within the workplace.

  1. An open door policy means that all employees and volunteers are encouraged to speak freely with any manager at any time. Encouraging a working environment where communication is free and open has advantages to organisations from a business perspective but this can also have a much more personal benefit to all.
  2. You don’t need to have a solution and sometimes trying to find one can lead you to saying the wrong thing. Try using acknowledgement and appreciation to tackle the conversation; “That must be really difficult for you” or “Thank you for telling me about it”.
  3. Be flexible to ensure you are creating a comfortable working environment for those with different needs.
  4. Make sure you understand mental health, take this useful quiz by Time To Change:
  5. Set up a casual activity to encourage your staff and volunteers to talk about how they are feeling. Lots of healthy conversations have been known to start with tea and biscuits.
  6. Most organisations have a registered provider for counselling-related service – check with your HR department or line manager.

Third Volunteer Drop-in Location confirmed

A few months ago we held an online poll, asking the volunteers of Kingston to choose where our our third Volunteer Drop-In should be.

The results came in and we are delighted to announce that the third volunteer drop-in location will be in New Malden!

We will be holding drop-ins on the second Tuesday of each month at New Malden Library between 2pm – 4pm in the new year. Please check our events page for details of the next drop-in.

Our first drop-in will be on Tuesday 12th February so feel free to pop by for any volunteering related advice.



December drop-in dates

Volunteering Kingston will be running an amended drop-in schedule in December. We will be holding drop-ins at our regular venues on the following dates:

Hook Centre Chessington – Friday 7th December

Kingston Library – Thursday 13th December

Volunteering Kingston will resume drop-ins again on January 10th.

Trustees Week 2018

Trustees Week runs from 12- 16 November and is a time to celebrate the important part that trustees play in the running of charities.

But what are Trustees?



What are Trustees?

Trustees are the people who lead the charity and decide how it is run. Being a trustee means making decisions that will impact people in their community or society as a whole. Trustees use their skills and experience to support their charities, helping them achieve their aims. Trustees also often learn new skills during their time on the board so being a trustee is a great way to learn.

Volunteering as a Trustee is a rewarding role but one that most volunteers don’t tend to consider. However your experience could make a lasting impact on the charity, for example your social media skills could help a charity keep up in the digital age; or you may be able to bring a different viewpoint to represent a certain part of the community and ensure that all members of the community are heard.


Volunteering as a Trustee is a rewarding role but one that most volunteers don’t tend to consider. However your experience could make a lasting impact on the charity, for example your social media skills could help a charity keep up in the digital age; or you may be able to bring a different viewpoint to represent a certain part of the community and ensure that all members of the community are heard.



How do I become a trustee?

You will find trustee vacanies in our latest Star Opportunities newsletter and through Volunteer Connect.

Not registered to receive our opportunities newsletter which has the best of the latest volunteering opportunities?

Sign up here




Meet a Trustee…


Anna from Kingston recently volunteered at Kingston Carers Network as a Treasurer. She has ths following to say about her experience as a Trustee (taken from Kingston Carers Network website):

 “I was attracted to the worthwhile cause and the growth in the charity’s reach.”


Hello, My name is Rhiannon and I volunteered for the KCN treasurer position in August 2017.

I qualified as a chartered accountant back in 2008 and my accounting career has specialised in the charity sector ever since, having worked for organisations including the NSPCC and The British Museum.


Last year I decided to reduce my paid employment from full to part time to fit in with family commitments, which I also saw as the perfect time in my career to ‘give something back’ by using some of my spare time to volunteer for a charity.  I hoped I could share my charity finance expertise, and in particular my experience of working with charity fundraisers to secure much needed money, with a dynamic local charity.  This is when I came across the treasurer advert for KCN which fitted the bill perfectly.  Having researched the charity, I was attracted to the worthwhile cause and the growth in the charity’s reach over the past years.


I applied for the position and had an interview with the Chairman, and also met some of the other board members.  We got on well and I was keen to commit to the role, and they were keen to have me as treasurer and trustee.  It’s been a great varied position.  I have attended monthly board meetings to present the charity’s financial position, worked with the CEO to advise on funding proposals and worked with KCN’s Finance Officer to assist on financial procedures.  The KCN board and staff are a fantastic bunch and I strongly encourage those reading this to consider if they too would like to apply to join KCN’s board.

You can apply to be a Trustee at Kingston Carers Network here (via the form on the right hand side of the page)