How did you first get involved in ACE?
I was a volunteer with Good Neighbours in Fairwater, where I live, doing bits of gardening for people and other things. I got involved in Fairwater Communities First and Neighbourhood Watch. I was chair of PACT for Fairwater for a time, so I was giving support with various events and networking. Then ACE took over the contract for Communities First in Fairwater. So that’s how I became involved in ACE.
Now I volunteer for ACE in a number of roles. I’m part of the Pantry team and I do Phone Friends. I’m also on the panel for the Community Volunteer Fund, and I’ve recently started helping with Community Support. I’ve also been a trustee at ACE since 2017.
What is it like being a trustee?
As trustees, we are basically overseeing what goes on, and what major decisions are made at ACE. We have to make sure that the finances are good and that we’re solvent, and that we can continue to serve the community and grow. I’m so glad that ACE has survived the pandemic, and come out the other side stronger. I appreciate it was hard at times, but we’ve come out the other end, and we’ve learned from it.
One of the benefits of being a trustee is that you find out more. But having a report on a piece of paper is not quite the same as asking questions face to face, so that’s partly why I volunteer because I can get more of a feel of what’s going on. I suppose a challenging part of being a trustee is that you have to make some difficult decisions at times. Being on an interview panel for candidates for staff roles, it’s hard when you know the people, but you’ve got to be objective.
What’s been the most significant change for you recently?
The most significant change for me in recent years has been being able to talk to people again, after all the lockdowns. Everybody was isolated, me included. So I started doing phone friends, for other people’s support as well as mine. But now we can get out and about, it’s even more rewarding.
Why do you give so much of your time?
Because it’s appreciated. People say thank you. I didn’t get that when I was working. I just got taken for granted, you know, get that done, get the results. So that’s the thing, people say thank you. I always try to be approachable, whether it’s people in the community who popped in to use the facilities or fellow volunteers or staff. And I’m trying to put a smile on people’s faces.