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Barnsley u3a Committee on Why They Became Trustees

A group of people in front of a table

This week is National Trustees’ Week and to celebrate we are talking to committees from u3as across the movement to ask what they’ve gained from their experiences.

Today we talk to committee members from Barnsley u3a. Alan, Chair, Trudy, Risk Assessor, and Helen, New Members’ Secretary, talk to us about their experiences.

Why did you choose to become a trustee?

Alan: To help to further develop and promote an organisation which could make a difference to the lives of retired people in the Barnsley area

Trudy: Because I thought that I could help with Barnsley u3a and I wanted to give something back.

Helen: In order to give something back and make a difference to my community

What is the main thing you have learned since becoming a trustee?

Alan: Your management style has to be very different when comparing the management of volunteers to the management of employees in the workplace. As Chair of a u3a you need to have heightened skills of diplomacy and tact together with the ability to encourage people into taking on new roles. You need to have to ability to create a volunteering culture within the organisation.

What one piece of advice would you give to anyone thinking of becoming a trustee?

Alan: To understand that, irrespective of your specific role, you are part of a team who’s joint mission should be to provide a positive experience for all your members irrespective of their chosen activity.

Trudy: Give it a try and you might find that you enjoy making a difference.

Helen: You don’t have to do everything yourself, accept help when it is offered.

What one big difference has your committee made for your members?

Alan: Created a vibrant and positive ethos which enables members to enjoy being a part of the u3a and for them to act as your emissaries in the wider public arena..

Trudy: It has made the membership grow and given members lots of opportunities to do different things.

Helen: Enables people to make friends and meet like minded people

What is your favourite memory since you became a trustee?

Alan: A number of members at different times have said to me that “The u3a has saved my life.”

Trudy: It is making a lot of new friends.

Helen: Speaking to new and prospective members especially when they are really nervous and have plucked up courage to phone. Seeing them integrate into the groups and become valued members of the group.

What would be the theme song for your trustee life?

Alan: “Better Together” by Jack Johnson

Trudy: “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life”

Helen: “My Way!”

Trustees make the u3a movement work. Read more of our interviews with Trustees on our Sources blog and if you are interested in becoming a trustee, talk to your local u3a committee.