Day Two of Trustee Week 2021, and in the theme of all things ‘two’ we chat with Laura McArthur who has two connections to Jessie May; as a Trustee AND as a Jessie May parent.
How did you first hear about Jessie May?
When my son Archie was born prematurely in hospital, Jessie May were introduced to us when it transpired that he was going to have a lot of difficulties in life. They supported us from when he was about 6 months old, and they’ve been part of our lives ever since! Archie’s nearly 4 now and they’ve really become a true part of the family over the last 3 and a half years.
What attracted you to become a Jessie May Trustee?
I am unable to work at the moment as I’m looking after Archie, and Jessie May have been such a great help to us over the last 3 and a half years, and I just wanted to give a bit of time back to help out the charity. Hopefully my work as a Trustee can help to benefit other parents and families like us. It deserves to be around for a long time to come.
How does your professional/personal experience inform your work as a Jessie May Trustee?
I’m a parent trustee, able to give my opinion as a parent using the service and for any other families I know. I can give a different point of view that can help to enhance the knowledge and understanding of the charity. I’m also the Chair of the Fundraising Committee, helping the incredible Fundraising team to keep on track with hitting targets and raising as much funds as possible to ensure the service can keep going.
Before Archie was born I worked for an agency that supported non-profit organisations with their fundraising, maximising the use of Direct Mail, raffles, lotteries all sorts! So I know the ins and outs of things such as Gift Aid, which comes in handy when leading the Fundraising Committee.
It’s so important for us as Trustees to have that knowledge to know that all the compliance and governance is up-to-date and that we’re doing the right thing.
What’s the most rewarding part of your role as a Jessie May Trustee?
It’s been a whirlwind of a 2 years. I met the I met the Board for the first time when I joined as a Trustee in November 2019, and because of the Pandemic I’ve not seen them face to face since! Our work has all been done virtually over the last 19 months, but thankfully we’re starting to have face-to-face meetings again, and it will be so nice to see everyone again after so long.
For me, the most rewarding part of being a Parent Trustee is the opportunity to speak to the media and talk about the work the Jessie May nurses do in supporting families like mine. It’s great to be able to spread the message of Jessie May to people who may never have heard of us before. Last year I had the opportunity to speak on BBC Radio Bristol and I know all my friends and family listened, and shared it with their friends, so more and more people are hearing about Jessie May’s work.
The family engagement aspect is also important to me, reviewing the service and making sure that what we’re providing is actually what the families want. Our latest survey suggests that parents are happy with the service, and it’s a great feeling to know that we’re doing the right thing.
On the other side of my role, working with the Fundraising Committee, being able to see all of the fantastic work being done and be a part of that is just phenomenal. Everything that’s been achieved over the last year especially, given it was such a hard year for Fundraising, has been incredible and a testament to the vital work Jessie May do.
What would you say to other people who are considering becoming a Jessie May Trustee?
All of the Trustees are lovely people, warm and approachable and are true experts in their field. I think as a parent it can be daunting to become part of a group like that, but everyone you speak to constantly say that the families are the most important thing and so any insight you can give as a parent is vital to the success of the service – your parenthood is your profession!
It doesn’t take up a huge amount of your time, and it’s a nice way to get out of the house and have some adult conversation. The overall benefit is that feeling of being able to help a wonderful charity – the immense satisfaction from that feeling is priceless.
What is Trustee Week 2021?
Trustee Week is an annual event that takes place at the beginning of November to showcase the vital role that Trustees play in our charity. Volunteering their time, and working together to make a real difference to the children and families we support.
Find out about our whole Board of Trustees by heading over to their page on our website: www.jessiemay.org.uk/about-us/board-of-trustees