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Trustee blog: Peter Smyth

Peter Smyth volunteers as a Trustee on CHAS' Board. He explains why the current Trustee vacancy is a fantastic opportunity to help shape the work of Scotland’s national provider of children's hospice care.

CHAS is an organisation that you just want to help. Its mission gets under the skin and stays there. In my case that has remained true over four years working with the charity in various guises, originally as a service provider and now as a trustee. If you’re considering applying to join the board, allow me to set out why I think that would be a great idea.

I first came into direct contact with CHAS shortly before the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections when my task was to help the charity inform MSPs, ministers and electoral candidates about why it needed their support. That’s when I first heard the stories of CHAS families, sometimes told by CHAS’s incredibly dedicated and passionate staff but often related first-hand by parents or carers who simply wanted to share their experiences of Robin House and Rachel House as a way to express their enormous gratitude.

The effect of those stories is always profound. What the listeners hear is how CHAS manages to place an arm of the most tender care around the shoulders of families who have been told their child has a life-shortening condition. There is, I think, rarely a dry eye amongst those who hear these accounts but the remarkable thing is that they are often tears of joy as well as sadness. You are left with a visceral feeling that if your family was faced with similar circumstances, you’d want CHAS to be there to help.

When, a few years later, the opportunity to join the CHAS board as a trustee with communications experience came about, I leapt at the chance, even if I was in all honesty a little daunted at the prospect. My fellow board members are an enormously talented group, all dedicated to giving CHAS’s staff the support they need to keep the organisation thriving. Thankfully they were as friendly and supportive to me getting to grips with the duties and functions of a trustee as I could want them to be. It is a great team to be a part of.

That teamwork has been vital in light of the challenges that Covid-19 has presented this year. CHAS, like just about every organisation in Scotland, has had to adjust at significant pace to the ongoing situation and has done so remarkably well, with the speedy launch of its ‘virtual hospice’ - just one of many examples of the charity working with agility to ensure that families receive the care they need.

The uncertainties created by the coronavirus mean that there is no monopoly on wisdom when it comes to predicting what’s in store for children’s palliative care in the months and even years ahead. Yet, with the support of its trustees, CHAS has set a clear, flexible strategy to be there for all families, whether it’s in our hospices, at home or virtually.

That mission needs the guidance of experienced trustees from diverse backgrounds to fulfil. If you think you have passion and skills to bring to the team, I would encourage you to apply.

Our current vacancy for a Trustee with property management and development experience closes Friday 13 December 2020.

Please visit the below link for more information and to apply:


If you want to talk to someone about your own situation or find out more about our services, please get in touch: