What does your Trustee organisation do?
The Samuel Lithgow Youth Centre is a youth centre located in Camden, which our chairperson aptly describes as the “beating heart” of the community. The SLYC is dedicated to providing a safe space for young people aged 8-19 through three core programmes – an after-school club, a holiday club and a senior youth club. At the SLYC, our mission is to empower the youth of our community, offering them a space to connect with peers and acquire essential life skills. Additionally, we run a female fitness programme, designed to foster community bonds through the shared pursuit of fitness and well-being.
Why were you interested in becoming a Trustee?
I wanted to become a Trustee because I believe in the importance of giving back to the community. As a lawyer I’ve had lots of opportunities that have allowed me to grow both professionally and personally; it’s a privilege to be able to use the skills that I’ve gained to support a cause that resonates with me.
Ultimately I decided to get involved with the SLYC because I liked the centre’s commitment to nurturing and supporting young people. I have young children of my own and I’ve seen some of the challenges that local services have faced, particularly post-COVID. Becoming a Trustee gives me an opportunity to be part of the solution, which is something I find very rewarding.
What are the benefits of a lawyer becoming a trustee?
There are so many, but one of my favourites has to be that I get to be involved in a cause that I’m passionate about. I also think being a Trustee can expose you to an incredible network of individuals. I’ve been lucky to meet people from a variety of backgrounds, from the Trustees who I serve the SLYC with, to the people who both run and use the centre.
On a more practical note, being a Trustee is a good way for any lawyer to expand their skill set. As a Trustee you get to be involved in the strategic planning, governance and risk management of your charity. These are areas we often delve into as legal advisors, so applying these skills in a charitable context can enhance our professional experience.
Why do lawyers make good Trustees?
Lawyers bring a valuable set of skills to the charity sector. Beyond our legal expertise, we excel at problem-solving, decision-making and providing thoughtful guidance. We often have experience of advising boards, so we can contribute a lot by being on one. Most importantly, we’re good at getting things done, which is an asset any charity can benefit from.
What advice would you give lawyers looking to become Trustees?
My top three tips are:
- Pick something you’re passionate about. It’s important that you find a cause that resonates with you and that you care deeply about.
- Do some due diligence. Look at who is currently sitting on the board and how your skill set can fit into that. Understand what the time commitments are and what’s expected of you and make sure you’re comfortable with both. Understand where the charity is at with fundraising, as this can ultimately end up impacting what you do as a trustee.
- Take advantage of the resources on offer. There are lots of materials online by the NCVO and Taylor Root that are really useful.
If you are interested in a Trustee role or are looking to hire a Trustee position, please get in touch with Georgia Morgan-Wynne to find out more.
We want to reiterate that this is not a paid service and forms part of our referral programme, so please do not hesitate to get in touch.