To support this year’s Trustees’ Week, a handful of Stone King’s people who are charity trustees in their own time talk about the charities they work with and reflect on what they have learnt.
Get involved in our upcoming Trustee events:
- Stone King’s leading Charity & Social Enterprise team runs regular Essential Charity Training for trustees and senior management.
Please see our Charity Training Programme
Andrew is Partner and Head of the Court and Regulatory Team at Stone King. He is an experienced criminal practitioner with particular expertise in regulatory breaches and transport matters.
Trustee for: Mentoring Plus
Riverside Youth Hub, York Place, London Road, Bath BA1 6AE
What does Mentoring Plus do and how did you become a trustee?
Mentoring Plus appoints adult mentors for disadvantaged young people in the South West. When I was doing a lot of legal aid work at youth court I met Michael Tichelar, one of the charity’s founders. I did some training with the trustees and mentors and a few other bits and pieces, and about five years ago they approached me about becoming a trustee.
I would go to court with young people in trouble and often they would be in trouble again and again because they had no role models. It would quickly escalate. But when they worked with Mentoring Plus it seemed to really help them and nip it in the bud. Being able to defend them in court by saying that they were now receiving mentoring from the charity was usually always well received.
What do you enjoy most about being a trustee?
You feel like you’re putting something back and able to contribute in a positive way. It’s lovely to see the effect the charity’s work has on some of these young people who have had no advantages in life at all and how they manage to really make something of themselves.
What have you learnt from your work as charity trustee?
I’ve definitely learnt the importance of putting something back in the community that you live in, of doing something that’s more than just turning up for work every day and really helping.
Sarah is an Associate Solicitor and Professional Support Lawyer in our Charity & Social Enterprise Team. She advises charities on all aspects of safeguarding and on the policies they need to have in place.
Chair of the Local Governing Body for: Motcombe CE VA Primary School
Church Road, Motcombe, Shaftesbury, Dorset, SP7 9NT
How did you become involved with Motcombe Primary School and how long have you been in the role?
I’m a governor of the school where my two children attend. When I saw the advert for two parent governor vacancies applied because my children love the school and I felt that I might be able to contribute to the governance side, particularly in relation to safeguarding. I'm now Chair of the Local Governing Body.
What is the most challenging part of the role?
You sometimes have to make difficult decisions based on facts that parents and other stakeholders may not be aware of, so it may seem like an unpopular decision but there is always reasoning and careful thought behind it.
Do you need certain skills, knowledge or expertise to be a school governor?
I think that the first thing you need is a desire to learn and a readiness to commit to becoming a governor. A range of skills is important for any governing body, and any good governing body will carry out a skills audit on a regular basis to ascertain what gaps there are in terms of areas of expertise and knowledge.
I have used and developed my skills in relation to safeguarding and have received good training though the academy trust to develop skills in areas in which I had no prior experience. It can be very rewarding.
What have you learnt from your experience so far?
There is never a dull moment! I think with a good team of governors that are all committed to the ethos and values of the school, as well as to high standards of teaching and learning, you can really make a difference to the experience of children at the school for the better. There are often difficult times and you need to make the best decision you can based on the facts before you. A good relationship and shared vision with the Head or Principal is crucial, but at the same time you need to maintain the role of ‘critical friend’ in the forefront of your role as a governor.
Sophie is a solicitor in our Charity & Social Enterprise Team. She acts on a range of matters, establishing new charities and social enterprises and legally supporting them in their day to day operation and as they develop and take on new challenges.
Trustee for: For Jimmy
Unit C, Place/Ladywell, 261 Lewisham High Street, SE13 6AY
020 8852 7855
What does For Jimmy do and how did you become a trustee?
For Jimmy was set up by Barry and Margaret Mizen, the parents of 16-year-old Jimmy who was killed at his local bakery on a Saturday morning. The charity works to create safe spaces (mainly in Lewisham, London) for young people to grow up in and carries out four core activities: awareness talks, safe havens, peer support and training and employment for young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Jimmy’s parents visit schools and share Jimmy’s story and the message of hope, peace and forgiveness. The school’s programme combines social engagement with academic support and peer mentoring, focussing particularly on academically and socially marginalised young people. The charity also works with local businesses to provide a safe refuge or support to young people who feel they are in danger and it facilitates work placements and training for 16 to 18 year olds with ASD. This increase their self-confidence and employability. The charity has also been commissioned to develop and provide a national peer support programme for families bereaved by homicides.
I first became aware of For Jimmy through one of the local cafes operated by its trading subsidiary. The story of Jimmy’s death is quite well-known by Londoners, because of the media coverage at the time. I was looking for a trustee position and wanted to contribute to a local community organisation that helps improve the life prospects of young people. I was lucky that they were willing to appoint me as a trustee.
What do you find most rewarding about the role?
It is rewarding to make even the small contribution I do to a charity that is dramatically improving the lives of young people and making the local community a safer place.
What have you learnt from your experience as a charity trustee?
Humility! I have experienced first-hand the power of forgiveness and compassion and seen how the legacy of Jimmy’s tragic death is a powerful drive to improve the life prospects of marginalised young people, reducing the chances of similar tragedies and fear, as well as improving the educational and social achievements of these young people.
“The Safe Havens Programme For Jimmy ran in my school gave me the confidence to act as a leader in groups; both in and out of school. They taught our group a lot about Jimmy Mizen’s life and that encouraged us to help set up Safe Havens in our local community. The push For Jimmy gave me has now helped me to get involved in student leadership at my school.”
Faith Peprah, Pupil at Deptford Green School
“I think For Jimmy has been doing a fantastic job integrating all of the different organisations that are involved in social justice. Prior to Safe Havens, our approach to security in Lewisham Shopping Centre did not take into account that a young person running may, in fact, be in some form of danger. This has changed how we view situations and has meant the relationship with young people and the security team has improved drastically.”
Gordon Glean, Head of Land Securities – Lewisham Shopping Centre
Trustee and Chair for: Stone King Foundation
13 Queen Square, Bath, BA1 2HJ
How long have you been a trustee / chairman of the Stone King Foundation?
I have been a trustee and Chair of the Stone King Foundation since October 2015.
What is the most rewarding part of your role?
Making donations to a wide range of charities all carrying out vital work within the local community, as well as nationally and internationally.
What skills do you think a person needs to be a good charity trustee?
I think a trustee needs to be committed, confident to voice their own opinion, a good listener and willing to ask questions.
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