Want to find out more about what a Board of Trustees is? Click here.
Read more about the role and when we are likely to be recruiting again.
Why did you want to become a Young Trustee?
Charlotte: I had just finished my time as a welfare officer at Leeds university union, where I ran campaigns on student health and sexual health. I felt that Brook shared the values that I was trying to achieve in my campaigns. I hadn't had much experience with Brook but definitely wanted to learn more about what the charity had to offer.
Clare: I'm passionate about sex education and I'd been supporting Brook’s work when I found out about the Trustee opportunity. Many people think that Trustees are well educated and from privileged backgrounds, I wanted to help break this stereotype and show that anyone can become one.
What was the best bit about being a Young Trustee?
Charlotte: Definitely seeing the amazing work that Brook is doing with young people and how they really think about what they can do to support them. They are constantly developing all of the areas to ensure that young people can access support and advice when they need it.
Clare: There were so many best bits, but for me it was seeing Brook grow over the years. I’m confident that I’m leaving Brook appealing and focused on the young people of today, particularly after the recent rebrand. I cannot forget though the amazing support I received and the once in a lifetime opportunities.
What did you gain from being a Trustee?
Charlotte: I've gained a real understanding of how Brook works, from listening to young people speak at the board meetings to visiting sexual health clinics. The work that all of the staff and volunteers do is just outstanding and you can see the passion that they have for the charity. I have gained knowledge about safeguarding, FGM, governance and the charity sector. Brook has improved my confidence by showing that my voice can be heard! Speaking at board meetings and meeting lots of new people.
Clare: There is so much that is discussed at the board meetings that it allowed me to gain an understanding of many different aspects of a charity. I now have a clear idea of governance, strategic planning and how to make tough decisions. I also gained knowledge and skills which helped me get back to education and have since got into some of the UK’s top universities.
What was it like being a young Trustee?
Charlotte: My role involved attending the board meetings which happen regularly and entail lots of detailed discussions about the way Brook works; I always felt included and that my opinions were valued. All of the Board members have been really friendly and they have a great wealth of knowledge in many different areas. The meetings included a structured format, with presentations from various staff members or volunteers, showing their work or ideas. We often held the meetings at different settings including a sexual health clinic, where the meeting ended with a tour of the clinic. I feel very privileged to have been on this board.
Clare: When I first started I felt that I should know everything, but I was assigned a mentor (another Board member) who helped me at board meetings whispering in my ear when I didn’t understand something. I also quickly realised that there is a wide range of people and skills on the Board for a reason, so you don’t need to know everything as someone else will have that knowledge. There were always lots of different opinions on topics and I gained confidence in questioning decisions alongside my colleagues on the Board. I always felt listened to and respected as a young person which helped make sure my role wasn’t tokenistic.
What were you responsible for on the board?
Charlotte: I also sat on the clinical governance group meetings. These are the meetings that overlook what the clinics have been doing. I found this really interesting due to my nursing career but also to see how the clinics worked and the strains that they can go through. This group is made up of some really amazing people including Nurses, senior management team and consultants. The work that they have done really was really interesting and it was great to have a greater insight into it.
Clare: I co-chaired some of the Board meetings, this was difficult but it was a challenge I accepted and learnt from. I also spoke at several events including a parliamentary reception, and represented Brook at many other events.
What would you say to other young people thinking about becoming a Trustee?
Charlotte: Don't hesitate in doing so, Brook is an amazing charity that really listens and values the thoughts and opinions of young people! It's a great opportunity to have your voice heard and be a part of something that really makes a difference to young people's lives.
Clare: Do it! It is a wonderful opportunity that can give you so many more. I almost got a new job after every board meeting due to the skills, knowledge and confidence I gained. The amount of information and knowledge you gain at that age is one of the best foundations for a career, particularly if you are interested in working in the charity sector. Also, you get to find out secrets about Brook that no one else knows!
Vist the Young Trustee page to find out more about taking up this role yourself.