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#MeetTheAmbassadors: Dylan Gallanders

Jasmin Glynne

17 May 2021

Each week we will be spotlighting one of our amazing 2021 cohort of Ambassadors! This week we caught up with North Wales ambassador Dylan Gallanders to discuss trusteeship and his campaign to increase the number of young trustees in community transport organisations.

Dylan Gallanders

NORTH WALES AMBASSADOR

Young Trustees Movement Ambassador

Dylan is a trustee for Dolen Cymru, a charity that links together the countries of Wales and Lesotho to create lasting positive changes in the communities of both nations. Dylan currently works for the Community Transport Association, helping to support organisations around the UK to provide accessible and inclusive transport. He also sits on the National Lottery Community Fund's People and Places Committee which awards grants to help communities to use their strengths to make positive impacts on the things that matter to them the most.

How did you get involved in trusteeship?

For the past few years, I have sat on the National Lottery Fund’s People and Places Committee, which helps to distribute funding to projects making positive impacts in their communities. This isn’t a trusteeship, but assessing grant applications has given me an appreciation of the value of putting people in the lead and the importance of good governance. It has also given me an insight into what it is like to be faced with difficult decisions and lots of board papers. This sparked my interest in trusteeship and led to me searching for opportunities on Reach Volunteering.

I am now a trustee for a small charity called Dolen Cymru, which facilitates projects, partnerships and relationships which benefit communities in both Lesotho and Wales. I visited Lesotho as part of an exchange link in secondary school and fell in love with the country, so I jumped at the opportunity to apply to be on Dolen’s board. I believed that I had some skills and experience which could be beneficial to the charity, but I think that it was my passion and enthusiasm for their work which ultimately helped me to get the role!

What motivated you to become an Ambassador for the Young Trustees Movement?

When we talk about the ‘voluntary’ or ‘third’ sector, we’re trying to encompass organisations ranging from tiny voluntary led groups, up to multimillion pound juggernauts. Causes, services and business models vary immensely, meaning that it’s impossible to encapsulate how the ‘sector’ will react or respond to a given situation. It is unlikely that my charity has had the same experience of the pandemic as Oxfam UK.

One thing all organisations across the sector have in common though is a desire to make a positive difference. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen just how important this is. Whether it’s befriending, transporting, delivering, providing, or campaigning, charities have continued to provide support to those who need it most. This is at a time where demand is much greater and income has been significantly affected.

In this context, we have often heard about how charities have coped and shown their resilience. What we have heard less about, is their resourcefulness. Whereas resilience can make you think of a fight for survival, resourcefulness focuses on the capacity to create and develop solutions. It suggests an ability to adapt and to be proactive rather than attempting to maintain the status quo.

It is no coincidence that the charities who are the most resourceful, are often the ones with the most diverse boards.

They are the ones who can call on diverse perspectives and experiences. They are the ones able to utilise skills and resources in new ways. They are the ones uniquely able to understand and mobilise their communities. Ultimately, it is the charities with the most diverse boards who are best placed not just to survive, but to thrive. Having a young trustee is certainly a good place to start.

There is an interesting paper on resilience vs resourcefulness from Local Trust, here.

What is your campaign focus and what do you hope to achieve with your campaign?

My campaign is going to focus on increasing the number of young trustees on the boards of community transport organisations. Community transport helps to provide inclusive and accessible transport to those who have no other alternative. Using everything from minibuses to mopeds, services can include voluntary car schemes, community bus services, dial a rides and wheels to work initiatives. Often community transport is associated with older people or people with disabilities, but it can be vital to anyone who has no other means of accessing transport.

Like so many others, community transport organisations have shown their resourcefulness throughout the pandemic. In many cases, they quickly changed from transporting people to transporting food and prescriptions, their drivers became telephone befrienders and their vehicles were made available to support the NHS.

I hope that my campaign will build on the strengths of these organisations and help them to think about how they can continue fostering resourcefulness through diversifying their boards. Having more young trustees on the boards of community transport organisations will help the sector to adapt and develop moving forward and ensure that their services continue to reflect the needs of the communities they serve.

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