Becoming a Trustee of Why me? By Dr. Davina Cull
I have been a Trustee of Why me? for six months and have so far been impressed with the innovative project work, the aspirations of the charity and the social value it brings to the Restorative Justice sector.
The role of trustee is important within the voluntary sector.
Becoming a trustee for the right charity matters – you need to choose an organisation that fits with your values and beliefs. Importantly it also needs to be charity that will benefit from your skills and expertise, where you can contribute to the future direction, provide support and ultimately one for which you are happy to take responsibly.
Last year, having recently finished my academic studies, I was keen to explore taking up a trustee role with a charity I felt committed and passionate about. Prior to discovering that Why me? were recruiting trustees I researched other charities and organisations.
For example, I met with a trustee of a regional charity who described the amazing work of the charity but as he spoke I instinctively knew this would not be the right fit for me. He described the board meetings as ‘challenging’ with members who had ‘conflicting ideologies and ideas’. The restorative practitioner in me shuddered as I could see the harm that was being causing by this level of conflict and negativity. I politely thanked him for his time, but declined the offer – saying I didn’t think it would suit me.
In my professional practice I have also encountered charities that are not operating as they should. I have encountered poor ethical practice, lackadaisical record keeping and mission creep – all of which ultimately risk the reputation of charities, the safety of those associated with the organisation and the amount of ‘good’ that can be done. I was therefore determined to avoid association with a poorly run charity at any cost. It was at this point I saw Why me? advertise for a trustee. I was aware of the exceptional work of Why me? having been a project manager in the field of Restorative Justice (RJ) for three years previously. So after doing my homework on the calibre of the board members (tick: they are awesome), the charity’s compliance with the Charity Commission (tick: all good) and the reputation of the charity (tick: it is very good) I was assured that this was the right charity for me and so I applied.
If you are reading this blog you may want to find out how you can support Why Me? too. There is a range of ways you can get involved and offer support:
Firstly, we encourage supporters of restorative justice to actively communicate their support and raise awareness of RJ via social media, within their professional practice and within their communities.
Secondly, as we actively campaign for more RJ services for victims of crime, we also ask you to influence and inform policy makers and leaders within the criminal justice system by simply asking them what they are doing to ensure all victims have equal access to RJ services.
Thirdly, you can become a volunteer restorative practitioner, make a donation, contribute your professional skills and/or apply for job vacancies when they arise –https://www.why-me.org/about-us/get-involved-2/
Restorative Justice is becoming more widely understood but there is still a huge amount more to do to ensure that all victims access the support they are entitled to under the Code of Practice for Victims and that there is equal access to services across the county. Giving victims the choice about whether they wish to participate in Restorative Justice is important and can contribute to the recovery process.
It isn’t simply just a statutory requirement or an intervention which reduces demand on other services ……it is the right thing to do for people affected by crime.
I look forward to using my skills and expertise to support service delivery, outcome monitoring and communication and to serving as a trustee for Why me? for many years to come.
I am proud to be a trustee for a small charity with a big agenda.