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MEET DAN EASTERBOOK

Megan Raybould

29 July 2020

Dan became a trustee after setting up a charity of his own to provide support to people with Cerebral Palsy. We chatted to Dan about his experience as a trustee, some of the complex decisions trustees have to make. And, how to handle, and learn from, those situations. Dan is currently looking for a new trustee role within health or education charities.

Tell us about your trustee journey so far.

During my time at the University of Exeter I got involved in student politics, and student governance.

I identified an absence of support for adults with Cerebral Palsy Hemiplegia and Hemiplegia, there was plenty of support for children but not adults so I decided to try and bridge that gap.

Where did you become a trustee?

My journey into trusteeship essentially started when a charity I supported stopped its support for adults with a condition called cerebral palsy due to a change in circumstances. I thought that wasn’t right and I wanted to do something about it.

So, I got a group of incredibly astute friends together and we started a charity called ‘CP and Hemi Support’, which was a charitable incorporated organization. So I had to do all of the legwork with the charity commission.

So that went on for a year and it was run pretty well, even if I do say so myself. But after a year we had to shut the charity down - so I've also experienced that. I think that having had that experience, I now have a  unique perspective to come at trusteeship from.

I think most people only ever have extremely positive views of trusteeships in the sense that you're doing good all the time. But actually sometimes you have to make really hard decisions.

I've learned so much from the process of shutting down. And I'm so lucky to be able to say that those people that we were supported through that charity are still get support they need - provided on a more grassroots level.

What is a goal that you would really like to achieve in regards to trusteeship? And what are the motives for you behind this goal?

For me personally, I think it's about showing that young people care about the organizations that they're involved in, and that the youth voice is important.  My aim right now is to find a new trustee role.

My first trustee experience was  fascinating, and engaging, and rewarding, but ultimately not quite perfect. So I want to ask myself: how can I learn from that? What lessons can I take from that experience? And how can I furnish another board who needs that experience with that support?

My motive is definitely to provide that support to people that need it and to use my skills to make sure that people get the best support. Whether that's in healthcare or in education. Those are the two topics I’m most passionate about.

Now what is the biggest misconception you have about this topic of charity, or young trusteeship? Or a misconception that you've encountered?

I think there's a misconception that a board role is one size fits all. I think there's an assumption of this is what a typical board looks like and how a board operates - but that’s not true. Every board is different.

I think that people say, “I want to be on a board of a charity”.  But you need to want to give back to that charity, and you need to believe in its mission, and that that mission needs to resonate with you. But also how they deliver that mission needs to resonate with you, because ultimately you're going to be responsible for it.

There is no - one size fits all trustee board.

What would you say has been one of the greatest rewards in the choices that you've made to get you to this point?

I think that it's seeing the impact that I’ve had and what I've been able to give back. For me, it's about seeing the impact of what I've done on the 400 people that used the services of the charity. And that it wouldn't matter to me if running that charity had benefited one person or 400, but the fact that it benefited 400 just makes it that little bit more rewarding.

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