Tom Waring, Chief Executive Officer of St Nicks, spoke to us about his experience so far of being a York CVS Trustee.

When did you become a trustee?
I became a trustee this past year. As the Chief Executive at St Nicks Centre for Nature and Green Living, I’ve been up and down to CVS a lot over the last 10 years through my work in the sector.

What appealed to you about York CVS?
St Nicks is a member of York CVS, and we have often used CVS services. Part of my decision was about giving something back. I have felt the benefits of working with CVS over the years for our charity, from training courses and advice sessions, through to the conference facilities.
The thing that swayed me was the Voluntary Voice article: You Don’t Have to be Grey to be a Trustee by York CVS Chair Jane Hustwit. This highlighted that board members of all ages have skills and experience to offer; that different perspectives and insights are valued. People on our board at St Nicks are aged from 37 – 78. From experience, I know it works well to have this breadth of ages and knowledge.
I also enjoyed the bits of work I did with the former York CVS Chief Executive, Sarah Armstrong.  I thought if I could do something to help her in her role, that’d be great. After a few conversations with the Chair to gain further understanding, I signed up.

What have you ended up enjoying in your role as trustee so far?
The most enjoyable bit so far has been getting involved in the recruitment for the new CEO.
I do recruitment for various levels at St Nicks, but had not been involved in a peer level appointment before. It was interesting and fun, and a good opportunity for my professional development.
Stakeholders were involved throughout the process and we had great candidates. The passion and enthusiasm for York CVS, as well as for social action projects such as Ways to Wellbeing and the sector as a whole was striking.  The decent fresh coffee was a total bonus!

What has surprised you?
How much scope there is to get involved…and how little time I have in contrast to the available opportunities.
I also realised I have a lot to offer. I am surprised at the input I have been able to have so far. The experience has been very affirming.

What is your favourite thing about York CVS?
The determination to still breathe… and breathe well! The organisation is 80 next year.  The motivation, drive and good will of people to get involved is impressive! The want to continue to be relevant, adapt and change with the times, plus the willingness to be dynamic is great.

Top tips for anyone who was considering signing up to become a trustee (eg. do’s and don’ts!)

  • Have a chat with someone who is a trustee on the board you want to be involved in. I found it helpful to talk to the Chair and the CEO.
  • Find out what the needs of the organisation are. This can be with any contact you have with the charity…someone who uses the services, an employee… just to give you a sense of what goes on there and get a feel for where the place is at.
  • Don’t be despondent – you have a lot more to offer than you think you do.
  • Top tip: read the accounts! I’m a numbers guy. The annual report and accounts give you a really good flavour of what is going on. This shows you the realities of the organisation and help gives you a more realistic view of what is possible.

Anything we should know about what’s in store at St Nicks over the next couple of months?
Something for your diaries: our Autumn Fayre is on 13 October from 1pm-5pm and demonstrates a little of everything. The will be live music, demos, beer, a bake off style competition… and of course, plenty of cake! Free entry, donations are welcome.

We are also part of Big Give Week, where each £1 donation to St Nicks will be matched, so we can double our donations. We really want to renovate and extend our building, so we can remain doing the best work we can!