It’s the final day of Trustee Week 2021, and we’re ending the week by speaking with local Community Paediatrician, Tamsin Woodbridge, about how she supports Jessie May both as a Trustee and a referrer.
How did you first hear about Jessie May?
I’m a Community Paediatrician based in Bristol, and so I heard about Jessie May through some of my patients who needed further support and manage to access the service provided by Jessie May. I’ve been referring patients of mine for about 10 years now, so the relationship has been going strong for a while now, and it’s nice for me to have seen the development of Jessie May and the incredible work that’s been done over the years.
What attracted you to become a Jessie May Trustee?
I was asked to join by Mary Gainsborough, who was involved as a Trustee at the time, and I felt so privileged to be asked. I know how valuable the service is to the families, have that extra source of support. I’m a Mum myself, and I feel so lucky to have such healthy children, and so being able to watch these families go on their individual journey’s with all of the challenges they have is so inspiring. It’s so powerful to see how much the support they receive from Jessie May helps them to deal with those challenges and how important the service is to them. These families need and deserve so much, and it’s great to feel that I can be part of that in a separate way from my normal job.
From a personal point of view, it’s an opportunity for me to be able to give my own children a broader understanding of society. We are so lucky in our world, we don’t have any family with disability and have never known anyone with a child who has a life-limiting condition. When the social restrictions lift a bit further it will be great to be able to get to some of the usual family events Jessie May hold, and to bring my own family along so they can see the richness of the different people and their different needs.
It’s also good for my personal development to see how a completely different sector works, it’s been a complete learning curve for me. To see how a Board works, the role of a CEO is very different from the typical medical structure I work in and so that again has been a big difference for me.
What’s the most rewarding part of your role as a Jessie May Trustee?
A specific moment for me has come fairly recently actually. A patient of mine recently died, and they were known to Jessie May having received support through the service. I got a phone call from the hospital, and I had a sudden sense of panic thinking to myself “Oh my goodness, what can we do for this family?” and my first thought was to pick up the phone to Jessie May. For me, just knowing that there was going to be someone at the end of that phone call who would be able to put in place both physical and emotional support for that family filled me with a true sense of pride.
I was sat across from the family at one point discussing with them the support that Jessie May were providing with them, and they said to me “We don’t feel like we deserve it” – and I just want to tell all of our families that they do! People have donated to Jessie May over the last 25 years so that you can have the best support possible at the hardest time in your lives.
What would you say to other people who are considering becoming a Jessie May Trustee?
What I truly recognise from being part of the Board is that it’s really important to have a whole wide range of people with different skills and backgrounds. When we’re discussing anything medically related I have the opportunity to relax a little bit more and can engage and contribute as it’s my area of expertise. But when discussion turns to Finance or Fundraising I’m completely out of my depth! But I know that it will be exactly the same for them when we’re talking about the medical aspect, so I’m not alone in that feeling.
The things you need to be part of a charity like Jessie May is to really believe in the cause for starters – which is incredibly easy for anyone who knows or sees what we do. Then you need to make sure you can commit your time. Even I sometimes find that difficult, what with having a busy job and a family, but I really want to be able to commit as much as I possibly can. I don’t want to be one of those people who says “I’ll get to that in a few days or weeks”, I want to be responsive so that we can provide our utmost for these families.
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