The Children’s Society young trustee: “It is important for all types of people to be accurately represented”

As 2021 rounds out, senior writer Melissa Moody asked some quick-fire questions to Children’s Society young trustee, Abby, who talks about her motivations for the role and what some of the challenges have been.

Melissa: How old are you and how long have you been a young trustee?

Abby: I'm 21 (22 in January!) and I've been a young trustee for a year and a half, since around May 2020.

Melissa: What motivated you to become a young trustee?

Abby: As a disabled young person, I am part of a minority group which often isn't considered by society. I wanted to use my lived experience to help other young people.

Melissa: What have been the challenges?

Abby: Meeting new people has always been challenging for me, but I didn't need to worry as I've found the staff & young people at The Children's Society to be very kind & accepting.

Melissa: What have you found most rewarding?

Abby: Seeing the results when our input has been asked for, taken down & acted upon.

Melissa: What have been some experiences, good or bad, that have stood out to you, and why?

Abby: Bad - Experiencing casual discrimination because of my disability & encountering general inaccessibility from service providers (e.g shops, restaurants) making it harder for us to spend time out as the team of 'young trustees'.

Good - Knowing you're with a group of people from The Children's Society who care and support you and will not think twice about being your voice and speaking up against discrimination if needed.

One time I asked to board to ensure the up-to-date legislation was referred to regarding accessibility on the new website and being told to check it in the next meeting and seeing the change!

It is quite a special feeling to be taken to three events across the country to say the same thing, especially when you look across the room at the most senior official [Mark Russell, CEO of The Children’s Society] who is already cheering you on when you're picking up the microphone, that is when you know what you have to say is important!

Melissa: How is it balancing being a trustee with other responsibilities?

I find it quite easy to balance my trustee duties with my other responsibilities as we know about dates in advance & our preparation meetings are regularly on the same day every other week so this structured approach means it is quite easy for me. If you do have to miss a meeting you are updated so you don't miss out.

Melissa: Would you encourage more young people to become trustees, why?

Yes, because what you have to say is important and you are the expert on your own experiences. It is important for all types of people to be accurately represented and for people to be able to see people in society that they can identify with.

Melissa: What could charities do to encourage more young trustees?

Talk to young people, there are plenty of young people around who want to shape the world we live in for the better, it's a case of charities starting a conversation with them and truly listening to what is being said.

    Share Story:

Recent Stories

How does a digital transformation affect charity fundraising?
After an extremely digital couple of years, charities have been forced to adopt new technologies at a rapid pace. For many charities, surviving the pandemic has meant undergoing a fast and efficient digital transformation, simply to exist in a remote world. But what effects has this had on fundraising? And what lessons can charities learn from each other? Lauren Weymouth chats with experts from software provider, Advanced, to find out more.

Better Society