In this article for Trustees Week 2023, Eva Woods muses on what being a Trustee means to young people. Eva Woods has been a Trustee for PCVS since July 2023.
In my role as Peterborough's Member of Youth Parliament, I spent every day advocating for my community before decision makers and budget holders, speaking to boardrooms and conferences, collating reports, conducting research and offering recommendations. My role existed to compliment professional expertise with authentic experience and ensure young people were consulted at a high level on decisions that affected them, and I knew I had the skills to communicate the needs of my community effectively.
I now realise that a lot of those things are exactly what a trustee does - adding different perspectives to governance. Charities know who they serve and how they should be delivering, and therefore approach the potential trustees who have the insight to guide them in doing it well. To a young person, the word 'trustee' sounds exclusive, intimidating and rigid - my experience at PCVS, from our initial conversations through to my being welcomed into the team, has been anything but.
Being a great trustee has nothing to do with being intimidating: the way I see it, you need three things. The first is your experience - it took me a while, but I've realised why mine as a highly experienced youth advocate, and now local government officer, is valuable.
Secondly, one does need a technical understanding of governance. If anyone reading this is considering trusteeship believe me, you will learn this as you go. I could not have asked for a more supportive and invested team than ours at PCVS to guide me as I learn this.
Finally, you will need all those qualities that cannot be taught; integrity, passion and resilience. To be a great trustee, you must take an interest in the practical details of governance, with your vision for your organisation always in mind. Remember your purpose in the community, your community, and be loyal to the impact you hope to see.
In my short time as a Trustee for PCVS, I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing space with such passionate people and gained confidence in my own developing skill set. I would recommend trusteeship to anybody and could not be prouder to represent this incredible team and mission.
Eva Woods has been a Trustee for PCVS since July 2023. You can find out more about our Trustees in the About Us section of this website. You can find more information about Trustees Week on the website https://trusteesweek.org/