trustees’ week

New training portal launched for voluntary organisations during Trustees’ Week

Three North East support charities have launched a new e-learning resource for trustees. 

Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, Elements Training Portal has been developed by Connected Voice, North Tyneside VODA and Northumberland CVA, who have been working in partnership since 2019 to help trustees overcome challenges such as capacity and geography by giving them the opportunity to access quality e-learning 24/7 from wherever they have an internet connection.

New trustees looking for an introductory course to support their work, will be able to sign up to the Elements Training Platform and study its ‘Good Governance’ course in their own time and at their own pace, and can fit their learning around their schedule and priorities. And what’s more, until the end of December 2021, trustees will be able to access the ‘Good Governance’ course free of charge.

Giovanni Spatuzzi, Strategic Partnerships and Operations Manager at Connected Voice said, “Most individuals who become trustees don’t start out with a well-developed knowledge of governance issues. Instead, they start out with a vitally-important passion for the work of the organisation, and the governance side of things is something they must learn along the way.

“Although we’re just getting started, we want Elements to become the go-to place for people in our sector across the North East, whatever their role, to find flexible, interactive e-learning opportunities that offer a good basic understanding of subjects such as good governance, volunteers and the law, and good fundraising to support them in their work.

“‘Good Governance’ is our first course. It is suitable for new trustees and also for existing trustees who are looking to refresh their knowledge. We’ll be adding new courses very soon.”

Connected Voice, North Tyneside VODA and Northumberland CVA are all well-established and respected membership charities offering local infrastructure support to voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations in their respective communities across North of Tyne and Gateshead.

The partnership has a combined membership of over 1,500 organisations, with around 3,500 trustee-led charities covering their geographical areas, so we’re anticipating a high demand for the Elements Training Portal.

As well as this new Elements Training Platform, each of the partners also offers a range of other information, training and support.  If you’re in North Tyneside, you can contact VODA for support: email [email protected] or call 0191 6432626.

To register on Elements and study the ‘Good Governance’ course free, go to:

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VODA Blog: Trustees are volunteers too

As part of this year’s Trustees’ Week, our Core Services Manager, Keith Hardy, blogs about the importance of the often-overlooked voluntary role:

“It’s an often overlooked fact that Trustees are by law and by nature volunteers, and without them the voluntary and community sector would be greatly reduced. Over half of all charities are looking for trustees at any one time so as a trustee you will be filling a vital role in the voluntary sector or in your local community.

Volunteering as a trustee can be such a rewarding and fulfilling experience and can significantly increase your skills and knowledge. In recent years there has been a lot of research on the benefits of volunteering on both a personal and professional level; there is even compelling research suggesting it’s good for your health. Some of the other potential benefits include:

  • Contributing to a great cause in your locality or to an issue or a cause you really care about   
  • Employers of all sizes have begun to value voluntary activities much more seriously with trusteeships being considered as an effective method of professional development available to employees
  • Developing skills and gaining experience of strategy and leadership, influencing and negotiating and managing risk are great boosts to your C.V.
  • Developing contacts and networking with new people and organisations, meeting new people from diverse backgrounds and developing your team working skills

So what is a trustee?  

Trustees ensure their charity has a clear strategy and that its work and goals are in line with the charities purposes and has a good understanding of their charities work overall. They safeguard the charities assets and make sure they are used well and that the charity is sustainable. They contribute to the management of the charity, supporting staff and/or volunteers, to manage the charity effectively. 

Trustees come from all walks of life and you can become a trustee at 18. Organisations often seek a diversity of age ranges and backgrounds to ensure that they are representative of the community they serve. VODA can offer trustees in North Tyneside a range of support and information – read more here.

What commitment is required? 

It’s important to remember that each organisation will have different expectations of its trustees in regard to time commitment, the best way to find out is to ask the charity.

However, you may want to consider that induction and training may be a requirement and will differ across organisations. The frequency of most trustee and committee meetings is between four and 12 per year. This will include the Annual General Meeting. Some organisations have one off or regular events, which may require a trustees presence, and there may be opportunities to offer representation on a sub group or committee – these are usually voluntary and additional to the basic role of trustee.

How do I become a trustee?

There are a number of current trustee vacancies in North Tyneside at organisations including the Rising Sun Farm, Healthwatch North Tyneside and Dyslexia North East, to name but a few. Please contact VODA if you are interested in becoming a trustee, or if you would like any more information about what’s involved.

And don’t forget to follow #TrusteesWeek on Twitter for the latest news and resources.”

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