I hoped that my experience could be put to good use to develop services that met the needs of local families. I also wanted to continue to support the development of early years policy, securing a robust early years sector that delivers excellent services to all within each locality.
The role of chair
As a chair, my role is to support the Director and her senior team in developing policies and practice to meet the needs of local families. We think about the whole family, supporting both parents and carers of the children who attend our settings. This includes running classes on child development to help them understand the important role that they play in enabling their children to grow and develop in their own time and in their own way. Something that is vital in today’s modern society.
When I took on the role, I was certainly not expecting to chair an organisation through a pandemic! I am extremely grateful that 1st Place had such an incredible director and senior team to lead the charity through the very difficult times we had. The pandemic did offer opportunities to review our work practice, to implement changes and to assess where we need to go next. However, its impact on our families has been huge and has highlighted the importance of a robust early years sector to give stability and support to families in very stressful and trying times.
The qualities of a good chair
A good chair needs to be able to listen, they must also be prepared to be bold. When the director or the team have new ideas that perhaps raise more questions than they can answer, it is the role of the chair and the board of trustees to listen and explore the possibilities of those ideas. It is also the role of the trustee board to offer support in times of crisis, to ensure their presence is known to service users and that they are available to them if needed.
If you want to be a trustee or chair, you should ensure that you and the charity are a good fit. You should also look at your skills and consider what you can bring to the charity. Be prepared for the amount of time that you will need to devote to the role. Sometimes it can feel like a lot! It is therefore important to manage your time well.