Charities and voluntary organisations across Suffolk are appealing for more young adults to consider becoming trustees.
Community Action Suffolk, which supports the sector throughout the county, says the perception of trustee opportunities needs to change dramatically, and those younger professionals in the region could well be the very people who make a pivotal difference to ambitious East Anglian charities.
The average age of a charity trustee is currently 60 years old, with less than three per cent of charity trustees being under the age of 30.
To coincide with National Trustee Week, Community Action Suffolk and its membership are seeking to start changing that picture in the county.
In a bid to do so, CAS has announced its Suffolk Young Trustee Programme will now extend its age range to serve those 30 and under (previously up to the age of 25).
Hannah Ratcliffe, 26, has recently become a trustee with Home-Start in Suffolk.
She was inspired to become a trustee in her 20’s because of her experience with a Young Leadership Project.
She said: “I wanted to be able to give back through the skills I was developing in my career, in a volunteering role which would fit around working full time and studying part-time.”
The new national Young Trustees Movement is also challenging organisations to think about the diversity of their board and encouraging more people like Hannah to seek opportunities.
Hannah added: “Learning that the average age of a trustee is 60 + made me feel even more that I wanted to be part of a movement which would be increasing diversity, as young people we have an important place at the table and are able to offer different insights.
“Particularly for charities who have younger beneficiaries, I believe it is essential to ensure that this representation is embedded across the whole organisation.”
Janet Perry, from Community Action Suffolk, said: “There are so many great opportunities out there for younger adults to get involved in charities and make a real difference in their community.
“Sadly, the perception is that trustee boards only want much older people, or perhaps that they need to have had prior experience with a charity, but it’s not the case.
“The skills and confidence you can gain through a charity trustee role are vast, and we would encourage people across Suffolk to use Trustee Week to get in touch with us and find out more.”
If you’re interested in learning more about trustee roles for young people, contact Janet Perry, Young Leadership Development Officer at Janet.firstname.lastname@example.org