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As part of International Woman’s Day Mhairi Adams wrote about why being part of Citizens Advice Bracknell and District trustee board is important.
“I’ve been keen to get involved in doing something outside of work that would benefit the local community for a while. Working in local government for several years and volunteering in a variety of roles in the past made me aware of the ever-increasing pressures on organisations that provide support to individuals including financial and housing help.
I contacted several local charities last year before finding the opportunity at Citizens Advice Bracknell & District (CAB&D). Citizens Advice is a charity I have been aware of and the benefits it provides since I was young, when my Grandparents would tell me about their experience of being volunteers for the Paisley branch.
The key focus of the past few months has been increasing my understanding on how the charity operates; spending time with the staff and volunteers who provide advice to clients as part of the trustee induction process. This was insightful and made me realise that anyone could have circumstances change overnight and could require help from Citizens Advice.
My circumstances have changed since becoming a trustee as I am now on maternity leave and waiting for the arrival of my first baby. It has opened my eyes to what many new mothers, and fathers, go through; having to understand financial help that is available, planning for reduced income and understanding my rights as an employee.
This has reinforced my decision to take up the trustee position at CAB&D for two reasons. Firstly, to be involved with a charity that could provide advice to new mothers and – from first-hand experience – I’m aware information on this is not always easy to understand through digital platforms alone. Secondly, it has reinforced my view on the importance of charities having a diverse trustee board, it is important boards represent the clients that charities serve as best they can. There is still a way to go for charities to have an equal gender split. A recent study by the Charity Commission found 64% of charity trustees across England and Wales are male.
I have been made to feel very welcome by other trustees, staff and volunteers. Especially with my change of circumstance, everyone has been so accommodating (including inviting the new baby to attend future trustee meetings). I’m looking forward to getting more involved in the trustee role over the next year, to help shape the future and ensure the sustainability of Citizens Advice Bracknell & District.”
If you would like to find out more on how to get involved have a look here https://www.citizensadvicebracknell.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer/