Trustees’ Week 2021

Text-based Trustees' Week graphic

Trustees’ week is an annual event to showcase the great work that Trustees do and thank them all for volunteering their time to make important decisions about your organisations work.

This Trustee’s Week, we wanted to celebrate and thank the trustees who help Step One Charity achieve our goals, through their dedicated support and leadership. Like all volunteers, trustees donate their free time and their energy so our charity can grow and continue to improve mental health across Devon.

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to throw challenges amongst us in 2021, we wanted to say a special thank you to all of our trustees who have kept Step One going through this period of uncertainty and change.

Welcome, David!

With this, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to welcome David Hawes as he was appointed as a Trustee for Step One earlier this year. David is currently part of the Senior Leadership Team at the Devon Air Ambulance Trust. He qualified as an accountant with H W Fisher in London before working as an Audit Manager at BDO Sydney. Following a return to England and a period of working for Capital as a Manager of the Investment Trust and Venture Capital Trusts team in Exeter, he moved into the charity sector as Director of Finance and Infrastructure at Devon Air Ambulance in 2014.

Dave oversees the facilities and finance departments and is an integral part of the governance structure as part of the executive leadership team for the Charity and a Director for its trading company.

‘’Working for a charity in the health sector has helped me appreciate what a vital and life-changing difference a well-run and professional charity can make when supported by its local community. It created a desire for me to contribute my own efforts more widely and I was delighted to be given an opportunity to be involved in Step One, a Charity which makes such a significant difference to so many individuals. I hope that my experience in the charity sector will be able to help make a contribution, however small, to the significant impact Step One has on those it supports in what are challenging times for many.’’ – David Hawes

A with our Chair of the Board, Sue Sutherland

For anybody that doesn’t know already, what is a trustee?

Sue: “A Trustee is an individual who works with a group of Trustees who come together to ensure that the charity’s work is of public benefit, the charity fulfils the purpose for which it was set up and in addition Trustees manage the resources of the charity responsibly to ensure that money is wisely spent on the charities purpose.”

What does your role involve?

Sue: “Typically, Trustees form a Board that meets at least four times a year with the Chief Executive and Finance Director and other staff. We agree on the strategic plan for the charity and monitor the ongoing delivery of the plan. Trustees also participate in Board sub-committees. At Step One we have two. The Quality Assurance and Improvement Committee and the Finance Committee each meet at least four times a year. Each one is Chaired by one of the Trustees. The Committees spend time drilling down into more detailed information, for example looking at the quality of care we are delivering to our beneficiaries and reviewing in considerable detail the charities finances. Trustees have a number of legal responsibilities to fulfil such as filing accounts etc. and are responsible for the appointment of the Charities officers, in our case we have two – the Chief Executive and the Finance Director.

As the Chairman of the Board, I have the added responsibility of ensuring that the governance structure (the people, the committees etc.) are fit for purpose and I work closely with Eilis, we meet every two weeks, to ensure that Step One is well run.”

What inspired you to become a trustee?

Sue: “During my career, I had benefited from lots of development opportunities, I originally trained as a nurse, a midwife and an HR professional, I have had loads of Board level experience in various health organisations and a big University, I am passionate about delivering great services to people and I wanted to be able to use the skills and knowledge I had gained in a voluntary capacity to help others.”

What do you enjoy the most about your role?

Sue: “It is a real privilege to lead a team of volunteers (Trustees) and work closely with our wonderful CE Eilis. I know that Step One makes a real difference to so many peoples life’s and that there are always more ideas and ways we can develop to help more people.”

What particularly interested you about Step One Charity?

Sue: “I love the fact that we help people manage their mental health and take control of their future and that we do this by providing support in employment, health and social care.”

Can you tell us your fondest memory about working with Step One Charity?

Sue: “My proudest moment thus far has been seeing the implementation of the Be Well programme and the associated fundraising strategy, this will, in my view help so many more people and we should be rightly proud that we are doing more for more people.”

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