Volunteering as a VSS Trustee
This Trustees’ Week, Lynne Staples-Scott talks about why she recently joined the VSS Board and what it means to her.
Being a trustee for any charity is rewarding and challenging and, although I am new to the Victim Support Scotland (VSS) Board, I can see that this will most certainly be the case with VSS. I believe that VSS plays an incredibly important role in supporting people who have been victims of crime and the organisation is well placed to respond to the changing needs of the communities around us. The fact that VSS makes a very real difference to the people it supports, coupled with the opportunity for VSS to build on its reputation as a leader in influencing government thinking and policy, was the main reason I chose to join the organisation.
I am, however, under no illusion. Meeting the demands of politicians, society and funding partners while also protecting the values of the charity, requires a clear and coherent strategy. The VSS Board, which has recently been strengthened with the addition of seven new members (of which I am one), will need to stand firm while supporting the organisation and its employees, which is not necessarily easy.
Why be a trustee?
Trustees are key people in any charity. They oversee the running of the charity, set the strategy and ensure goals are being achieved and risks managed. Being a Trustee is not to be taken lightly. It is not just about turning up at meetings and reading a few papers, nor is it about managing the organisation on a day to day basis. It is about getting to know the organisation and its people; it is about putting the needs of the organisation first and it is about working as a team with your fellow board members. It requires dedication and a degree of juggling if you work and/or have a busy home life.
But there are rewards. Certainly in the short time I have been with VSS, I have met some incredible people both on the Board and at the ‘coal face’. I am being stretched personally – my knowledge of the criminal justice system is developing fast, and I have been amazed at how many systems and processes I recognize within the charity because they also apply in the corporate world.
Most of all, I have been humbled by the professionalism, passion and knowledge of the staff and volunteers. Who wouldn’t want to be involved with an organisation like that?!