A Trustee Perspective
Martin Collett, Action Hampshire Trustee and Operations Director, English Rural Housing Association, blogs for us
What does Action Hampshire do and what’s my role? Having now been a Trustee for over three years you would expect the answers to roll easily off my tongue – they don’t. I’m not sure that this is a problem though. I know what my responsibilities are legally and also what Action Hampshire wants to achieve. For me, not being bogged down in the day-to-day means I can take an objective perspective on things. I can reel off a few polished corporate responses I’ve picked up during my time, such as ‘Action Hampshire works with and supports the voluntary and not-for-profit sector across Hampshire’, or ‘my role as a Trustee helps to set strategic direction and support the highly competent staff team’ – but what does that really all boil down to?
If I had to sum it all up in a few words, I would say, ‘Action Hampshire makes a difference, it enables services to people that the private sector won’t provide and the public sector can’t provide’. Sadly I can’t take credit for that succinct and powerful statement, with honesty being the best policy I confess to borrowing the key elements from work recently undertaken by the housing association sector. Taking something that is relevant and applying it to Action Hampshire in this way, helps to illustrate my own contribution as a Trustee. Collectively with others on the Board, I leverage in experience, skills and networks, helping to inform decisions and shape the dynamic approach that Action Hampshire takes
My own specific passion as a Trustee is our rural work. That means taking an interest in dedicated rural projects, such as affordable housing, village halls or community enterprise, but more importantly, making sure that the needs of the rural households feature in broader strategic decisions and direction. I was recently reminded at a family gathering, that despite the direction life has taken me, I am a farmer’s son, with the well-being of the countryside ingrained within my DNA. It was difficult to disagree with this, given that my professional life almost entirely revolves around rural concerns.
As a Trustee one of the circular questions in my own mind is could or should I do more for the charity. Experience has now taught me that the answer to that is not an obvious one. Of course, Trustees can always give more time and do more things, the charity will benefit from these efforts. For me personally, I think the value of my contribution comes from the work I undertake and the experiences I secure outside of Action Hampshire. Ultimately each Trustee approaches their role differently, but the combined efforts have helped to overcome what have been some especially challenging years, securing a platform from which Action Hampshire steps confidently into the future, enriched by the Trustee roles as they are by this exceptional charity.