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Meet Tina Bhartwas

Megan Raybould

23 November 2020

Tina became a Charity Trustee for the North Herts and Stevenage CVS at the age of 18 whilst studying for her A Levels. She is currently the lead board member for the #TeamHerts Volunteering Project. Read more about her trustee journey.

What has your experience as a young trustee at your charity been like?

I have felt really welcome at North Herts and Stevenage CVS. I feel that my lived experiences, opinions and ideas are readily heard and welcomed. I have been able to pursue my passions in equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and sustainability and really explore the charity sector. As a result of this I think I have become more confident and developed my community leadership skills. I am very grateful that they have encouraged and invested in me from providing training when I first joined the board to supporting me in my role as lead board member of a county wide project. As a Trustee I have had the opportunity to see volunteering and the charity world from a whole different perspective than ever before.

What are the benefits of trusteeship for young people?

Personally becoming a trustee really improved my mental health and wellbeing and enabled me to use transferable skills I have gained through life experiences such as caring responsibilities. I have been able to meet a wide range of people and been able to serve my local community making a positive difference in a new and different way to my community and political activism.

What’s the biggest misconception there is about young trusteeship?

I think the biggest misconception there is about young trusteeship is that young people  don’t have any experience. When an advert says they are looking for experience they usually refer to professional qualifications. This means that a lot of young people are excluded. Often people don’t even consider young people for  trusteeships. I think this is a massive oversight as this discounts the lived experiences of young people and their experiences as service users. The voluntary sector is immensely varied from advice agencies to youth groups and young trustees would support all aspects of this sector. Many young people volunteer but this does not translate into boards. I want to break down these preconceived ideas and barriers young people face so that they feel that they can come forward too.

Any tips for other people looking for trusteeships or starting out as a young trustee?

Initially I would suggest thinking about charities you know of in some capacity for example as a service user or a volunteer and reaching out. I wanted to be a trustee for the North Herts and Stevenage CVS because of my interest in volunteering and to support the charities that provided lifelines for me as a child.  I would recommend looking for opportunities through your local CVS. At the North Herts and Stevenage CVS, we advertise local opportunities through #TeamHerts Volunteering. I would also recommend  looking on the Young Trustees Movement Hub.

The top tips I would give to a young person starting out as a young trustee are:

  1. Do not let other peoples ideas of who trustees are hold you back. As a young working class BAME woman I am not the typical person people think of when they think of trustees. I joined a board at 18 years old whilst I was doing my A Levels. If I can do it you can too!
  2. Do not be afraid to be curious, asking questions is exactly what being a trustee is about.

What suggestions do you have for boards who are considering recruiting a young trustee?

Diverse boards that are more reflective of the area are more dynamic and more effective. Here’s what you can do when recruiting a young trustee:

  1. Reach out to young trustees, one way of doing so is through the young trustees movement where someone like myself will be able to answer your questions and provide advice.
  2. Think carefully about your recruitment procedure as that can instantly exclude young people.
  3. Ensure the culture of your board and organisation is welcoming to ensure that young trustees you recruit are retained.

If you are in Hertfordshire, we can help you! No matter what stage of the process you are you can get in touch and #TeamHerts Volunteering will be able to support you to take on a young trustee.

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