Trustee steps down from SMK amid claims of 'power hoarding'

A trustee has resigned from the Sheila McKechnie Foundation’s board of trustees amid claims of ‘power hoarding’.

Bushra Ahmed, who became a trustee of SMK in November 2021, posted on LinkedIn about her decision, saying she “no longer [had] faith in the Power Project, SMK or the SMK Board”.

In an exclusive by Charity Times, a freelancer accused the charity of failing to share power whilst working on the organisation’s official Power Sharing Project.

The issues included concerns about authorship, skills audits on those with lived experience and a ‘shut down’ by board members when issues were raised.

Ahmed’s post says that the organisation’s response to the story took her by surprise “as I was the only trustee with in-depth knowledge of the power project and problems.”

“Now that the dust has settled on the Power Project, SMK are firmly holding onto all of the power, with no intention of sharing it. We see classist and racist attitudes about people with lived experience. They are willing to use our knowledge, but they are not willing to do the work of collaboration,” Ahmed’s post concluded.

SMK chief executive, Sue Tibballs, said: “Last year, Bushra was one of two people involved in the Power Project who raised concerns about our approach to working with those with first-hand (or ‘lived’) experience, which the Board investigated over nine-months. Dissatisfied with the outcome, both are now publishing existing and fresh concerns in blogs and on social media.

"We regret that neither felt able to engage fully with the Board or respond to our suggestions, which has made meaningful conversations all but impossible, and that Bushra has now resigned. We are deeply sorry for any hurt caused to either person by their experiences.

"The issues are sensitive, complex and often contested – there are not always definitive answers. Although we have a different perspective on what occurred, we recognise and respect that others will have theirs. As we have already stated, our learning is continuous and we are committed to sharing it, including in a Learning Report to be published soon.”

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