Trustees: Leading the Way

Autumn is well and truly amongst us – but there is something different about it this year…  An understandably half-hearted Hallowe’en has come and gone – as have many of our hopes for a greater return to pre-pandemic normality before the winter comes.  As the days grow noticeably shorter, I for one am battening down the hatches (mentally and physically) in preparation for a demanding season.  I managed to attend a few face-to-face meetings – including a few large groups – as summer turned the corner, but the re-emergence of the spike in infection rates looks to have reduced our collective desire to meet in person.

As with many of us, I have been considering what it is that gives us our resilience to cope with these challenges.  Many of our friends, family and wider community have been hit by much more than mild inconvenience of course: bereavement, long-Covid, reduction in benefit rates, and now the recent floods which once again washed out another 40 homes around Cockermouth.  At a time when the world’s leaders are gathering in Glasgow to consider their collective response to the perils of climate change, it gives reason to pause and consider what it is we seek from our “leaders”.

For my part, I look for honesty, courage, perspective, common-sense, ambition and the ability to coach, to encourage – alongside a pragmatic, flexible nature.  Whilst I sometimes struggle to find these qualities amongst our politicians, I have found all of these qualities and more amongst our Trustees – and in Trustees Week, what better time to celebrate them?  It takes a certain type of person to take on this voluntary role.  It needs a supportive approach and wise counsel, alongside the skills we sometimes take for granted – whether they are financial, managerial, legal – or based in partnership development, embedded in the culture and social purpose for which we target our resources to best effect.  They need to be able to step back and take an overview – particularly when the teams they support are busy tackling whatever the current crisis or challenge might be – and then apply it in the best interests of the organisation they serve.  I am sure you will see this in spades at our upcoming virtual AGM on Wednesday 24 November 2021 where we will have some top-notch speakers talking about Social Value.

I believe that Trustees can give an organisation added resilience to get through the tough times, the “long dark winters of the soul” when it came seem the challenges are insurmountable.  So please – if you are reading this and considering a role as a Trustee – come aboard!  You will be surprised at the difference you can make and the positive impact you can have.  And if you are already part of this select group, please consider joining our new “Trustee Network” which launches on Tuesday 9 November 2021, 1830-2000 (book here:  And if you were in any doubt – take a look at the heartfelt thanks our team have expressed to our own Trustees!

Many thanks to all those Trustees out there who are helping make Cumbria an even better place to live!

David Allen
Chief Executive Officer
Cumbria CVS