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Rachel’s Story: Chair of Board of Trustees

Rachel, Chair of Board of Trustees

I became chair of the board of trustees in April 2021 and having spent my first year working to improve the running of the board meetings and sub-committees, my focus turned to trustee recruitment and how we might make progress with increasing diversity on the board.

Trustees met in-person for the first time since the pandemic at our trustee away day in May 2022 and have continued to meet in person 2-3 times a year alongside our online business meetings and sub-committees. Whilst online meetings can be convenient and support volunteers to give their time alongside work and family commitments, the in-person meetings have really benefitted us in terms of building our bonds, trust and psychological safety and for when we want to have more creative and strategic discussions.

So, when we met in person in May 2022, there was a focus on understanding how we tick as individuals, our collective strengths and any gaps in terms of skills and experience that we might want to address in our next round of trustee recruitment. We had 3 trustee vacancies at the start of the year and another two trustees who would come to the end of their term in the next year. We talked a lot about how to increase diversity on the board and agreed to completely overhaul the way we recruit trustees – to make it more accessible and inclusive.

I’ve made a conscious effort to spread the work of the board across the trustees and sub-committees so that it’s not all down to me as chair – recognising that as a board we have a collective responsibility and that alongside my full-time job and young children I don’t have the capacity to do everything. As all the trustees are part-time volunteers, it took the whole year to develop the recruitment pack, advert, review the trustee induction and complete the process of interviewing and appointing our new trustees. We attracted a high volume of applications from a wide range of people, reflecting the success of our new approach.

2022-23 was also the final year of our three-year strategy (2020-23) and as a board we took the opportunity to reflect on what had been delivered and look forwards to the development of a strategy for the next three years (2023-26). The board concluded that we wanted to build on what Manchester Mind does so well – delivering trauma-informed support to the people who use our services and doing this in a person-centred way – making connections across our own service offer as well as with other services across the city. As demand for support continues to grow, we want to make it easy for people to ask for help, and to get the support they need at Manchester Mind.

I really enjoy seeing the impact of the hard work of Manchester Mind’s staff and volunteers and the difference we are able to make for people. I start every board meeting by sharing a case study from the operations report and it can be hard to choose just one as there is so much great work happening right across Manchester Mind. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers.


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