Top Tips: How to Be the Best Charity Trustee

You’ve been appointed as a trustee. What are the first steps you should take to ensure you’re going to be a good addition to the board?

Explore the Charity Commission’s Guidance
Your starting place (whether you’re new or not!) should always be the Charity Commission. It is the body to which trustees are accountable and by which they are are regulated. As an initial step have a look at the commission’s guidance outlining the six key duties of trustees and explaining the legal responsibilities. This should be your first port of call for understanding the essential requirements of being a trustee.

Get Some Training
It is critical that trustees have the necessary skills to contribute fully to a board, so it’s a good idea to identify early on where there be might be gaps in your abilities. This isn’t about being an expert in every single element of running a charity – but trustees do need to ensure that they can maintain a general grasp of everything that’s going on.

Many boards run a skills analysis of new trustees, but it is always helpful to reflect first on where you might need support. As trustees progress through their board career, it’s useful to do regular self-appraisals, as well as encouraging the whole board to appraise itself annually as well. Self-appraisal will help trustees realise when it’s time to move on – another important element of being a good trustee.

Get a Mentor
One of the best steps you can take if you’re new to anything, not just a board, is to find yourself a mentor. At first, you may want to consider someone who is already on the board – a sympathetic ear to just sound check ideas with. If you’ve been a trustee for a while, however, and already know the organisation, it is worthwhile getting a mentor from a different board. That will allow you to compare experiences and seek best practice from elsewhere. Obviously, this doesn’t have to be formal – a coffee before a meeting or a drink afterwards will suffice. This is about networking with your peer group.

If you are already a trustee, then offer to mentor someone else – it’s always nice when a newbie enters the room and is offered support like this.

To view the full Guardian Voluntary Sector Network article click here.

The Sapphire Service

A new project is set to improve the experience of older people and their carers while they are in hospital. Funded through Your Trust Charity, The Sapphire Service is jointly run by Agewell and the West Bromwich African Caribbean Resource Centre. The funding will enable the service to work with the wards from the moment patients are admitted up to when they are discharged and back at home.

Some of the support to be provided by The Sapphire Service includes befriending patients and helping with eating and hydration. While Agewell, will be providing a wider service, the role of the West Bromwich African Caribbean Resource Centre will be to target African Caribbean and dual heritage older adults and carers.

Patients will receive a visit within seven days of their discharge after which The Sapphire Service will provide community intervention from the two organisations for up to six weeks.

The service is also working with volunteers who want to pursue a career in nursing, social care or as a healthcare assistant.

See here for more details about The Sapphire Service.

Email scammers turn their sights on youth football teams

Treasurers of community groups and small charities have been warned to be extremely wary after a youth football club was conned out of more than £28,000 by fraudsters using a fake email scam.

The Reading-based Laurel Park FC says it has had to suspend all planned spending, and the treasurer has resigned, after he was duped into making a series of payments to what he thought were companies undertaking work for the club. The scam started when he received what looked like a routine email from the chairman asking him to pay £7,000 to a supplier from the club’s Barclays account.

He had expected the request as the club, which operates 27 youth teams from playing fields on the edge of the town, was looking to spend money on its facilities. Only after he had made four payments – amounting to in excess of £28,000 into other Barclays accounts – did it emerge that the emails he’d received were false, and had come from a mocked-up lookalike account.
Barclays has washed its hands of the matter and refused to cover the losses, bar the £8.90 it says it was able to recover. The police have been similarly uninterested.

The club’s secretary says the episode has been devastating for those involved. He says the unnamed treasurer has even offered to sell his house to allow him to repay the club, although they are hoping they won’t have to take him up on the offer.

The case will send a shiver down the spine of anyone who acts as a treasurer for a club or charity. “We rely on volunteers to manage the day-to-day running, and our treasurer was just that – a volunteer doing his best”.

Read the full article from Guardian Voluntary Sector

Rosa – Voices from the Frontline Programme

Women’s sector voluntary and community organisations are invited to apply for grants of between £500 and £2,000 to support projects that will increase the skills, capacity and credibility of women who wish to challenge gender inequality and promote awareness and change.

The type of activities supported include coaching for a service user to speak at an event, presentation, media or lobbying training to support organisational advocacy strategies, and the creation of campaign materials, such as posters and videos etc.

The funding is being made available through the Voices from the Frontline Programme which is run by Rosa, a charitable fund set up to support initiatives that benefit women and girls in the UK.

The fund will close to applications at 5 pm on 15 June 2017.

More information

Greggs Foundation

Organisations outside the North East of England may be eligible to apply for the Greggs Foundation Local Community Projects Fund and Environmental Grants programmes. Grants of up to £2,000 are available to help organisations based in local communities to deliver activities that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

Local Community Projects  support a community of interest and offer grants towards projects, trips, activities and equipment. Environmental grants aim to improve people’s lives by improving their environments.

Organisations can apply once per calendar year.  The closing date for applications is 24 June 2017.

Visit the grants section of the website for more information

An ACE too many – Working to prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences

Sandwell’s Health and Wellbeing Board will be hosting an event called, An ACE too Many – Working to prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences in Sandwell.  This will be from 9 am – 1.30 pm on Monday, 3 July 2017, at Sandwell Council Chambers, Freeth Street, Oldbury B69 3DE.

The fixture will focus on the prevention of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), as part of the on-going work on Prevention of Violence and Exploitation (PoVE).

The Board aims to raise awareness around engaging local schools and front line practitioners to identify:

• The Board’s existing approach to ACE
• The Board’s effectiveness at identifying ACE
• What support pathways are already in place
• What can be done to improve the Board’s approach

The event will be particularly relevant to:

Children’s services practitioners
Adult social care practitioners
Library services
Faith groups
Local police/fire/ambulance services
Youth support/services and anyone else who works with children and young people

You can book your free ticket by visiting the Eventbrite page.    

For more information contact Rachel Allchurch on 0121 569 5163.

NCVO Almanac 2017

The charity sector is unlikely to experience an increase in donations or income from the government over the next few years, NCVO has warned. They made the prediction alongside the release of their  UK Civil Society Almanac 2017, which covers the 2014/15 financial year and is based on analysis of financial data from a sample of more than 7,800 charities.

NCVO said earned income was the best prospect for future growth and that money from dormant assets, such as shares or bonds, should be used to help local charities.

It says that 90 per cent of the sector’s £112.7bn of total assets – such as property, cash and investments – are held by just 3 per cent of charities, with the top 100 asset owners accounting for half of the sector’s total. It says the vast majority of charities “have little reserves to speak of”, which it describes as a “long-standing challenge”.

Approximately 48 per cent of all charities are described as “micro”, defined as those with annual incomes of less than £10,000, the almanac says. Another 34 per cent it categorises as “small”, with annual incomes of between £10,000 and £100,000.

The almanac says that 14 million people volunteered at least once a month that year, with the highest rate in the 16 to 25-year-old group.

Wooden Spoon Society

Schools and not for profit organisations have the opportunity to apply for funding through the Wooden Spoon Society’s Capital Grants programme. Wooden Spoon is the British and Irish Rugby charity that supports mentally, physically disadvantaged children.

Through the programme funding is available for buildings and extensions; equipment and activity aids; sensory rooms and gardens; playgrounds and sports areas; transport and soft playrooms. Since being founded in 1983, Wooden Spoon has made grants of over £20 million to more than 500 projects in the British Isles.

Applicants should contact their regional volunteer group. Subject to an application being approved by Wooden Spoon Trustees, the Society require a minimum of one Wooden Spoon membership to be taken out by a representative of the applicant organisation.

There is a rolling deadline.  Applications can be made at any time.

More information

Holiday Play Scheme Funding 2017-18 open for Applications

There is a Council grant available from the “Play is Making a Difference in Sandwell” Holiday Grant Programme 2017-18. The grant is to support Voluntary and Community Sector (not for profit) organisations that can offer open access, inclusive, quality, free of charge play experiences to children and young people aged 5-14 years in Sandwell during school holiday periods from July 2017 to March 2018.

The c losing date for applications is Friday 9 June 2017 at 4 pm. Application forms and Guidance notes can be found on the Sandwell Council website.

Applications received after the closing date will not be processed.

Project Aspie’s next ‘Alphabet 12’ meeting

Alphabet 12 is a networking event that supports people with Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism.



It is free and is suitable for people who meet the following criteria:

  • Aged 16+
  • Who have Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism
  • Living in Birmingham and West Midlands region
  • Wanting to meet other people with Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism

‘Alphabet 12’ Birmingham offers Service Users the chance to explore opportunities that will bring Confidence and Motivation.

The next monthly meeting is on Saturday, 27th May at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham. Networking and refreshments are available between 12 noon and 12.45pm, followed by a keynote webinar from Dr. Harold Reitman, M.D.

You can find out more information here:


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