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Survey launched to help boost number of young trustees

Howard Lake | 11 November 2014 | News

Charities Aid Foundation and campaigner and trustee Leon Ward have opened the Young Trustee Survey. They are exploring the experiences of young people who serve as charity trustees in the UK, with the aim of creating more opportunities for young people to support charities as trustees.
This survey was inspired by a recommendation from the Growing Giving Parliamentary Inquiry, which called for more young people to be given the opportunity to access the skills needed to take up governance roles in charities, with the aim of getting more young charity trustees. At present, although 18-24 year olds account for 12% of the population, they make up less than one per cent of charity trustees. Two thirds of all trustees are aged 50+.

Trustees’ Week

The survey is launched in Trustees’ Week, the annual event that showcases the work that trustees do for charities, and encourages people from all walks of live to get involved in this way.
The Young Trustees Survey is open until the end of 2014. Responses will be summarised in a guide to be published next year. This will share best practice from the different schemes and models that aim to give young people the skills and confidence needed to become trustees.
Leon Ward, Trustee of Plan UK, said:

“My experience as a younger trustee has helped me understand the contribution that young people can make to the charity sector, and I hope we can inspire more young people and more charities, of all sizes to get involved.”
“By learning lessons and building on best practice from elsewhere we can encourage more young people to consider becoming trustees, which will benefit charities too through the different perspectives and viewpoints that young people can bring to the table.”
“This is about helping organisations understand the multiple benefits to having young trustees. This isn’t about tokenistic representation or diversity for diversities sake but it’s about ensuring decision making boards are fit for purpose, future proof and a collection of different skills sets, perspectives and experiences.”


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Paula Sussex, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, welcomed the survey. She said:

“I would encourage charities to look beyond their usual networks when searching for new trustees and consider young people in particular, who are often able to bring new talents and a fresh perspective to an organisation. Trusteeship is also an excellent way for young people to learn new skills and progress professionally, and many are keen for opportunities to do so.”

More about Trustees’ Week

The Charity Commission has encouraged charities to undertake regular audits’ of trustees’ skills.
Paula Sussex, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, said:

“Trustees’ Week is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the vital work trustees do. As the backbone of their charities, it’s really important that trustees collectively hold a breadth of skills, experience and perspectives, and regularly make time to step back and evaluate where there may be gaps”.