Earlier this year, Rachel Davies, a Senior Solicitor in Turcan Connell's Land and Property Team, joined the Board of Trustees of Home-Start Leith & North East Edinburgh (HSLNEE). Rachel discusses her experience below:
I joined HSLNEE's Board of Trustees in February 2014. Having lived in the Leith area for nearly 10 years, I had been keen for some time to become involved with a voluntary organisation serving the local area. I had previously not been aware of HSLNEE but on visiting the charity's premises on Leith Walk was immediately impressed by the professionalism of its staff and volunteers and the invaluable service which it offered to the local community. As a solicitor, but also the mother of a two-year-old daughter, I was keen to offer my services and felt confident that I could bring to the Board not only knowledge of legal issues, but also a sympathetic understanding of the pressures faced by parents today.
The Board of HSLNEE meets, on average, every six weeks. As a trustee, my role, along with my fellow trustees, is to ensure that the resources of the charity are used effectively so that it can continue to support families and children in the local community. In doing so, we are ever aware of the duties imposed on us by legislation, in particular the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005. Trustee meetings follow an Agenda where standard items include the approval of policies, reports from the staff co-ordinators and the Treasurer, updates on fundraising, updates on any task groups and usually a"key topic" which will be discussed at length.
Becoming a charity trustee for the first time has been challenging and, at times, daunting. However, HSLNEE has provided a thorough induction process and offers comprehensive trustee training. I have also been able to take advantage of one of Turcan Connell's recent charity trustee training sessions. Looking ahead, I look forward to working with and getting to know my fellow trustees, being involved in the local community and hopefully improving the lives of parents and children. Beyond that, I feel that my role as trustee will also provide numerous opportunities for my own personal development and will enhance my skills and knowledge both personally and professionally.
Home-Start Leith & North East Edinburgh's Background
Home-Start Leith & North East Edinburgh ("HSLNEE") is a voluntary organisation which has been offering support to families in Leith and North East Edinburgh since 1985. HSLNEE is one of over 300 Home-Start schemes in the UK, the national umbrella organisation Home-Start UK having been established in Leicester in 1975. HSLNEE's ethos is to offer support, friendship and practical help to families in the area with at least one child under the age of five. Through its team of staff, trained volunteers and trustees, the scheme provides a home-visiting service, crèche, parents' groups, outings and other multi-agency initiatives.