Blog: John Armour reflects on Trainee Trustee programme so far
01 November 2021
John Armour, RSABI Trainee Trustee, blogs on his experiences so far as part of Trustees Week 2021.
I’m currently just over four months into the inaugural Trainee Trustee programme at RSABI, and so far, it has been a really rewarding experience. Coming from an agricultural background I am familiar with the work that RSABI does within the rural community but wasn’t completely clear on how it was all brought together.
This isn’t my first involvement with a charity though, having recently served a three-year stint as a Trustee of the Ellen Kerr Fund which provides charitable funding to young farmers across West Scotland, and does a lot of amazing work. You can find out about the trust here - Ellen Kerr Fund | SAYFC Funding | Members Funding Benefits
The difference with RSABI is the scale – RSABI is a charity with a team of dedicated staff, working nationally the length and breadth of Scotland. The people who receive RSABI support also face acute challenges which require understanding and empathy.
Attending the first meeting of the board of trustees was an intimidating experience – being new to anything is as it takes time to understand how it all works. When I got past that intimidation factor though I found a really supportive environment, with trustees and staff happy to share their time and experience.
Trustees have a responsibility for managing the resources of the charity and I’ve been able to see first-hand the level of consideration that the RSABI trustees undertaken when deciding how best to responsibly invest funds in order to return the necessary growth to fund the charitable activities which RSABI undertake.
Trustees have also got to ensure that charities do what they are set up to do and the Trainee Trustee programme which has been produced means that I’ve been attending staff meetings and hearing first-hand how the staff at RSABI go about the vital business of providing support and assistance to people in rural Scotland.
As in many aspects of life we’ve all had to get used to virtual meetings, however the RSABI board of trustees were able to meet in person in September and it was brilliant to meet the trustees where I was more comfortable to contribute to the meeting after being able to get to know everyone a bit better over a cup of coffee.
The Trainee Trustee programme has also allowed me to undertake a course on the Role and Duties of Trustees from the National Council for Voluntary Organizations (NCVO) which has enhanced my understanding of what the role of a trustee entails.
For me, I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity to take part in this programme because it’s an opportunity to learn and hopefully I can add value to the charity and the trustees during my time on the programme. I have no doubt that the skills I learn from the programme will help me in the future, but I also know that there will still be lots more to learn . . . there always is.
I’d recommend that anyone who is interested tries to get some trustee experience as it provides an opportunity to learn while contributing to something really positive.
Providing emotional, practical and financial support to individuals and their families across the agricultural sector including farming, crofting and growing.
The Rural Centre
West Mains of Ingliston
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