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blog • Story

Meeting the Charity Commission’s CEO

Megan Raybould

12 December 2023

What happens when you bring together a group of Young Trustees with the Charity Commission’s CEO?

Eight young people from our movement had an open and honest conversation about the joys and challenges of being a young trustee and what the Commission can do to support them. Here are some of the takeaways:

What isn’t working:

  • Board cultures aren't always set up to genuinely include young people. There might be a focus on diversity but not equity
  • Tokenistic recruitment - young people being hired to tick a box
  • The assumption that a young trustee represents all young people
  • Not valuing the whole person and all they bring in lived and learned experiences
  • Thinking that young people’s participation in a board room means that you can exclude other marginalised groups e.g people of colour, LGBTQIA+ people, people with a disability

What is working:

  • Upfront and transparent expense policies that factor in different people's needs
  • Removing structural barriers e.g. shortening board meetings, taking breaks
  • Recognising that young people on boards are trustees first and foremost, and they share the responsibility equally with other trustees
  • Having a good-quality induction and continued support system e.g. buddy systems/mentoring
  • Demystifying trusteeship: tackling stereotypes around who can be a trustee
  • Role Models. Representation matters
  • Whole boards taking responsibility for inclusive and accountable cultures: Justice matters
  • Limited access to trustee diversity data from the Charity Commission

It was great to hear Helen Stephenson CBE share her perspective that Young Trustees are crucial for reimagining and strengthening the charity sector.

Deeqo Shirer, a young trustee at INTEGRATE UK, was one of the eight incredible young people part of the conversation. She shares her reflections on the meeting and a renewed sense of just how much young people can bring to a board.

At the meeting, I was thrilled to learn that the charity commission was open to conversation with young trustees. It was a pleasure connecting with other young trustees and sharing our thoughts, opinions and experiences.

We often have a preconceived idea that trustees belong to a certain demographic and have years of experience, but this meeting proved otherwise. It made me realize that diversity is essential not just age but, disability, race, gender etc.

What made the meeting memorable was the ideas that all the trustees brought to the table. We also discussed how one might experience imposter syndrome or feel overwhelmed at times.

There was an interesting question on how to increase involvement with young trustees. We talked about the importance of incentives and advertising, including creative partnerships, to target potential new young trustees.

I believe that the young people of this generation have immense potential and ambition, but they need opportunities to showcase their abilities.

I also learned that we, young trustees, are just as qualified to be a trustee and the meeting was a testament of how passionate and hardworking we all are.

We’re looking forward to seeing what the Charity Commission does to support young people from all backgrounds in their trustee roles.

Join the Conversation

What would you share with the Charity Commission CEO about diversity, inclusion and trusteeship? Join the conversation on social media and tag @YoungTrustees on X and @YoungTrusteesMovement on LinkedIn.

If you’ve been inspired by Deeqo’s reflections and reminded of the value young people and diverse perspectives bring to a board, take a look at current trustee vacancies hereAnd, join our next champion training to learn practical steps for championing diversity in boardrooms.

Free Champion Training

Join a 1 hour training session to understand the power of young trustees, have a framework to understand how to approach board diversity and take practical next steps. New dates are added every month.

Support the movement - shout about Board Boost!

Our new programme encompasses everything young trustees (aged 30 or under) need to thrive in governance, and for their wider board to create inclusive, accessible practices. Support the movement by sharing our tweet!