Why Teresa Smith loves being a trustee

Why I love being a trustee

I first became involved with the Uttoxeter Gateway Club twelve years ago after speaking to Ruth and Pauline at the Uttoxeter Christmas Cracker. My son Sam became one of the youngest members at sixteen. My daughter Rosie helped at the club as a volunteer while she was at Thomas Alleyne’s Sixth Form. Six years ago I became the club treasurer.

Being a trustee of this club is a privilege and a pleasure. Through the club we, as a family, have forged so many very special friendships and made so many happy memories.

I can remember well Sam’s eighteenth birthday at the Heath Community Centre. A sizeable contingent of members attended and that’s when I first understood exactly what partying with the Uttoxeter Gateway Club meant. The members stole the show that night with their singing, dancing and the joy they brought with them. Sam’s family and friends still talk about how wonderful they all were and how they made that evening so special.

I still remember, with more than a smile, Rosie’s dance troupe of lady members entertaining us all. Rosie loved her time with the club and is still treated like visiting royalty whenever she is with the members.

Over the years it has been a privilege to be invited to and included in so many wonderful events, quiz nights, racing evenings, craft events, discos, parties and one of my particular favourites the Murder Mystery Evening. Who could forget the Barn Dance when the instructions were accidentally broadcast during the church service next door?

Any time spent at this club and with the members is always time well spent but my favourite times have been seeing some of the members on Christmas Day wherever they have been for their Christmas lunch and sharing my Fiftieth birthday year with members David and Carole (although of course we don’t look it).

Nothing is quite the same as walking into a club night or event and being greeted with such genuine warmth and friendship. If you have ever considered volunteering or becoming a trustee I urge you to get yourself down to The Guild Hall on a Tuesday evening but you might want to take your dancing shoes as you will probably need them sooner rather than later. Nothing is more joyous than an event that involves music or dancing. You won’t be able to resist joining in.

We are always looking for volunteers and trustees with new ideas and skills to share with the club. I can assure you that the rewards are very special. I have loved my time as a trustee and the opportunity to contribute to such a special club.

Whenever I think of what the Uttoxeter Gateway Club means to me I am reminded of all those special times and these lyrics:

Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came…
You want to go where people know
The people are all the same
You want to go where everybody knows your name

(‘Where everybody knows your name’ by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo)

13 – 17 November is Trustees’ Week

Hello Uttoxeter Gateway Club

Did you know that from 13 – 17 November it is Trustees’ Week?

We all know how important trustees are for the work we do to support people with a learning disability, so why not take this week as an opportunity to recognise them for their hard work and dedication? Looking for a trustee to join you? Use this week to raise awareness of this opportunity!

Did someone say resources?

The Trustees’ Week website has a number of great resources to help with getting involved with this week. It includes details on activities you can do during the week, how to get local media attention and template posters and flyers. All available in English and Welsh!

We have also created some speech bubbles that you can use on social media to share why you love your trustees and why they love being a trustee. Don’t forget to tweet these photos to @Mencap_Charity using the hashtag #TrusteesWeek.

Looking to find your next trustee?

Oxford HR, who provide an exciting offer to the Network already, have created some profile templates to help with finding exactly what you are looking for, whether it be a trusteeTreasurer or Chair!

They have also shared some draft interview questions that can be used for board appointments.

Where have the last nine years gone?

John Phillips has been a trustee at Mencap for nine years. He is also the Director of Isle of Wight Mencap. John has written a blog about his experience of being a trustee. Within it he explains how his work at Isle of Wight Mencap has been vital for supporting with this role.

This year John is stepping down from his role as a trustee. We would like to say a big thank you to him for all his hard work and dedication for the last nine years. His insights have been invaluable.

Have you checked out Your Network Online recently?

Login and take advantage of exclusive offers, free resources and chat with other partners on Your Network. If you do not have a profile set up, please contact the Network Office who will be able to support you.