Home-Start Kirklees has been going since 1999 and we believe that children need a secure and happy environment to thrive, and that parents are the key to providing that: it’s just that sometimes they need a bit of help. Through our trained parent volunteers we have supported over 1500 families who are struggling to cope with post-natal illness, disability, bereavement, the illness of a parent or child, or social isolation. Our volunteers visit families in their own homes, giving practical and emotional support.
But we need another kind of volunteer – trustees. Trustees are men and women who help guide our 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 families.
What kind of people are Home-Start trustees?
Our trustees come from all walks of life, bringing their experience and individual skills. The kind of skills that are in demand are business or personnel management, finance and fundraising, IT and communications. But 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. Each local Home-Start 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 a Home-Start 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?
Their 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 at least 8-10 hours a month on their duties. It’s 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. But 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 skills and knowledge of staff, your fellow trustees and Home-Start UK – which exists to provide information, support and guidance to local Home-Starts.
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.
What should I do next?
Contact us for more information or an informal chat about being a trustee. There is no commitment at this stage. Full details on how to apply will be given to you if you decide you would like to help run your local Home-Start. If you do decide to join us, you will have to undergo a DBS check and provide references as part of your application.