From education to employment

New Campaign to Build Trust of Young People

TimeBank and the Charity Commission have launched a joint campaign which encourages young people to become charity trustees.

Get on Board, an online marketing and print advertising drive, is asking young professionals to volunteer their expertise in return for broadening their skills, and even a potential career enhancing role “on board” a charity for which they have genuine concerns.

Of the People, For the People

According to research, only 15% of trustees are under 40 years of age and a disproportionately low 5% come from ethnic minority backgrounds. Such figures are a stark example of a representational imbalance; a general misrepresentation between trustees and the people whom their charities support.

Geraldine Peacock, Chair of the Charity Commission, acknowledges that an effective charity is a charity which sources both the views and talents of individuals from a range of different backgrounds, age groups and occupations. “The core message of this campaign is diversity,” she said, adding that “an ideal charity board is vibrant and lively. It embraces healthy debate by”¦getting a variety of perspectives on difficult issues and by having a mix of skills to draw on.”

Make a Difference: “Be Important”

2005, officially dubbed the “Year of the Volunteer”, has given rise to a series of targeted campaigns aimed at inspiring individuals nationwide, into contributing their time and abilities towards helping the less advantaged within their community. Get on Board tells young people that by registering to become a trustee they can be as important as Lenny Henry and David Beckham, but without the fame.

Trustees have greater responsibilities than regular volunteers. They control the management and administration of a charity and consequently have a big influence over its direction. Most people over the age of 18 are eligible to serve as trustees. The Charity Commission believes that Trusteeships offer a flexible way of creating positive change in society.

By dispelling the myths, promoting the benefits and persuading employers to support staff who want to volunteer, Get on Board is fully focused on tackling the recruitment problems that have dogged over half of all UK charities.

“I think trusteeship is a golden opportunity to gain career experience and make important contacts outside of the workplace. Its a responsible position but there are huge potential rewards,” said Dame Anita Roddick, Founder of the Body Shop.

Phillip Byrne, Union Affairs Correspondent

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