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Trustees Week - Interview

CHAS's committed and passionate trustees are responsible for the general governance and oversight of our work. They help to keep the joy alive for the children and families we care for by volunteering their expertise relevant to the services we offer, and to the business needs of the organisation.

This Trustees Week we sat down with Peta, the new Chair of the Board to find out more about her and what a trustee is.

Tell us a bit more about yourself?

A bit about me - well, I was born in Australia where the name Peta is more common as a girl's name. Whilst I loathed being mistaken for a boy as a youngster, on account of having two brothers and my mum deciding to dress us all the same to save money, as an adult its quite nice having a name that is a bit different. Having a slightly unusual name has stayed with me as my daughter Graces' middle name is Peekaboo which she has still not forgiven me for! I also have a son, Hamish who got off relatively lightly with the middle name of Maximillian.

We live in the village of Falkland which is great fun as it is regularly used as a film set for Outlander. It has a beautiful Renaissance Palace and the fantastic Falkland Estate. Living here allows all the family to enjoy the amazing countryside and history of this medieval village. We spend most free time walking and occasionally running and then removing inches of mud from the dog and carpet!

What is your day job?

When I am not working with CHAS, I run my own business which is focused on Executive Coaching and Leadership Development. Prior to that, I had a long career in Retail working with Tesco as a Store Director and then latterly as their Group Talent Director. I also worked with Asda/Walmart as their Group Talent and Diversity Director and then finally moved onto to set up an Executive Search firm in Scotland for Saxton Bampfylde.

Have you volunteered before?

Volunteering with CHAS is the first time I have done a volunteer role and it's been fantastic to both share my knowledge and experience but also gain so much from our staff and families. Working in CHAS is a great leveller and has often challenged both my thinking and my emotions. This was a significant factor in my considering joining as trustee. Whilst it may sound a bit glib, giving something back and being there for those that may need you is probably the most important value I live my life by. Volunteering at CHAS allows me to actually do something that can make a difference and I am hugely privileged to be given the opportunity. And of course, the cakes on offer at the hospices finally swung it!

What does being a trustee actually mean?

The experience of being a trustee is a mix of a few things. It entails quite a lot of rigorous process in relation to how we run CHAS combined with some significantly challenging and interesting questions on how we can improve the service for our children and their families. Ensuring we give time and insight to the executive team but not interfere is also a careful balance to be struck. Finally, always supporting the ethos and purpose of CHAS in all that we do is critical.

This has been particularly true during the last 18 months when we were all faced with the pandemic. Deciding how we would not only adjust our own lives to the new normal but how we were going to look after some of the most vulnerable in society became all-consuming and at times, extremely challenging. But by working closely with each other and listening to everyone's perspective we made sure no one was left behind as we navigated our way through it.

If you were to sum up CHAS in three words, what would they be?

Fun, exhilarating and humbling.

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