Trustees help to make the UK the sixth most giving country in the world. They play a vital role, volunteering their time and working together to make important decisions about a charity’s work.
Trustees’ Week is an annual event to showcase the great work that trustees do and highlight opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved and make a difference.
Here we speak to one of our trustees, John Timbs, about what his role for Abbeyfield South Downs entails and how he got involved.
Trustee: John Timbs, Director of Housing & Care
1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is John Timbs, and I am Managing Director of Lodge Group Care UK. We provide domiciliary home care, residential care and supported living for vulnerable children, adults, and the elderly. My background is housing and social care, and I work with organisations that work to support vulnerable groups.
My work is mainly based in London and Essex, but I have an office in Heathfield and live in Horam, East Sussex.
2. How long have you been a trustee?
I have been a trustee for Abbeyfield South Downs since September 2018 – I thought it was longer! I am also a trustee for the Now! Charity in East Sussex, and am on the Community board of Care City, which is an innovation community interest company working across East London’s health and care systems.
3. What made you want to become a trustee for Abbeyfield South Downs? How did you get involved?
I met David Byrne, Chair of the Board of Trustees for Abbeyfield South Downs through another business networking group that I attend. I knew of Abbeyfield, but not in detail. When David explained the Abbeyfield ethos, and about their aims and the new Holdenhurst development, it spiked my interest.
I wanted to get more involved locally, as I felt that I could offer something to my local area and bring my experience and passion to the right organisation. The opportunity came to me and it felt like a natural fit.
4. What does your role for Abbeyfield South Downs involve?
My role is Director of Housing & Care for Abbeyfield South Downs. With the Holdenhurst development, we’re at an exciting time. So far work has obviously been focused on the build itself, but now we’re entering a phase where Lynne (Phair, a fellow trustee) and myself are having more input.
The Governance works very well; there is a breadth of experience among the trustees, who have a strong and positive relationship with the management team led by our Chief Exec, Nolan Taylor. We can focus on bringing the benefits from our various areas of expertise for the benefit of Abbeyfield South Downs.
5. What do you enjoy most about the role?
For me, it’s important to get involved with organisations that exemplify the right ethics. The respect and dignity that Abbeyfield South Downs live and breathe in their work does this. This has shone through during the Covid pandemic too.
Earlier in the year, before the lockdown we had a strategy day with staff and the Board. The passion of staff showed in leaps and bounds, it’s obvious that everything is focused on the best interests of the residents. That’s extremely rewarding to be involved with.
6. What advice would you give to people thinking of becoming a trustee?
I’d say it’s important to be aware of your responsibilities and liabilities. You need to find an organisation with the right principles that meet your own personal objectives too. In other words, it needs to be a good match, and productive.
Look for strong governance and a clear role that matches your experience and interests. That will offer the most reward for all parties.
From everyone at Abbeyfield South Downs, we’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to John and all of our wonderful trustees who have worked tirelessly to steer us through challenging times this year.
Visit Trustees Week to find out more about becoming a trustee, or to find a trustee role.