Andrew Dent
May 23rd, 2013 by Robin Gordon-Walker

Reach has appointed a new Chair, Senior Civil Servant Andrew Dent.

Joining him on the Reach Board as its new Treasurer will be experienced financial accountant Graham Warner.

Reach Chief Executive Janet Thorne said, “We are delighted that Andrew is to be our new Chair and Graham our new Treasurer. They bring key management, financial and professional skills and will strengthen our governance as we move to delivering an enhanced and more effective service to charities and professional volunteers. That we can attract leaders of such calibre is a positive indicator of the continuing value of Reach’s unique service to the health of the Third Sector. We are proud that both appointees came from our own register, despite a wide recruitment campaign.”

Andrew Dent said, “I am delighted to be taking on the role of Reach Chair and see it as an excellent opportunity to use the skills and experience I have built in Whitehall to help it develop and thrive for the future.”

Graham Warner said, “Reach is a highly regarded organisation and I look forward as Treasurer to contributing my financial and business experience to further improve its services to charities and volunteers.”

Andrew Dent has spent most of his career at the Home Office where he is currently Director of Passport Operations. Previously he was Head of UK Wide Operations for the London 2012 Olympics including overseeing the Torch Relay, and Deputy Director of the National Asylum Support Service. Between 1997 and 2000 he served as one of The Queen’s Private Secretaries. In 2000, he was appointed Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO). He has been Trustee of the Jubilee Walkway Trust since 2004.

Graham Warner, a qualified Chartered Accountant for 35 years, has worked as a finance director and in senior financial reporting roles for a number of leading financial services firms. He has also previously been Treasurer of his local Mencap Society

Andrew and Graham will join the Reach Board with effect from its Annual General Meeting on June 4.

At the AGM Bob Fee will leave the Reach Board after many years of service including the last two as Chairman.

Janet Thorne said, “Bob has served Reach well and his leadership helped us to steer successfully through the sometimes choppy waters that all charities have faced in the last few years of economic strain.”

The board of Reach Trustees from June 4 will be:

  • Andrew Dent (Chair)
  • Graham Warner(Treasurer)
  • Simon Hebditch
  • Mary Selfe
  • Jon Edwards
A retired journalist, Robin now looks after Reach’s press and PR functions on a voluntary basis.

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Small Charity Week Team
May 14th, 2013 by Guest Contributor

Conchita from The FSI guest blogs in the run-up to 2013’s Small Charity Week.

Recent research by the FSI into the skills gaps within the small charity sector has shown that charitable organisations with an annual turnover under £1.5 million continue to struggle in key areas which impacts on their ability to deliver services.

The full report shows that as small charities prioritise the use of funding to deliver frontline programmes, they are increasingly unable to train or develop staff and volunteers. 66% of respondents stated there was no funding available for training and development, while 37% said there would be no room to improve their charitable services, which could impair the quality delivered to beneficiaries.

Small charities reported that impact reporting, long-term strategic planning and marketing were the areas in which they were struggling to plug this skills gap in their organisation. To see the full report, please click here.

Small Charity Week 2013 will be taking place between the 17th-22nd June and aims to address some of the issues raised by small charities as areas in which they struggle. Small charities can sign up to six days of free initiatives and competitions, including cash prizes, pro-bono advice and guidance from third sector and business experts including, the FSI, Reach, Oxfam and Credit Suisse to name a few. Also available will be opportunities for small charities to engage with policy makers and influencers when Nick Hurd, Minister of Civil Society hosts a cross-party event at Westminster on Policy Day.

Small charities have told us they continue to rely heavily on volunteers to support their activity and for the first time the FSI are including a Volunteering Day into the week’s programme to help small charities to promote their volunteer opportunities and find the skills they need for their organisation. We are excited to be working alongside Reach to support charities on this day.

The full breakdown for the week is as follows:

  • I Love Small Charities Day – 17 June: Three competitions to win funds for your charity
  • Big Advice Day – 18 June: Pro-bono advice on any charity topic of your choosing will be available from experts across the sector and business leaders either face to face or via phone or Skype
  • Policy Day – 19 June: Local and national events will be held to support engagement between small charities and policy makers and influencers
  • Volunteering Day – 20 June: Showcase your small charity volunteering opportunities and register for free events including a Media Trust speed-matching event.
  • Fundraising Day – 21 June: Take part in a number of competitions and initiatives to raise vital funds for your small charity for FREE, including the chance to win a share of £1,000 from the Vodafone Foundation, to raise funds from eBay users during Small Charity Week or receive your quiz toolkit to run your own community event.
  • Celebration Day – 22 June: Book your free charity stand to engage with the public at a mini festival held in central London, or why not run your own event to celebrate your amazing work.

Small charities can sign up to all of the free activities of Small Charity Week through the website and follow news through twitter @SCWeek2013 or the Facebook page

Conchita Garcia is Head of Projects and Development at The FSI. Here she blogs in a personal capacity.

Guest contributors are invited by Reach to give their own take on issues related to skilled volunteering and trusteeship. We hope you enjoy their articles.

Opinions expressed are those of the writer and may not reflect those of Reach.

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November 9th, 2012 by Reach

Especially for Trustees’ Week we’ve invited Alex to write a guest blog. He’s used the opportunity to share his take on the skills that are useful for being a Trustee.

In no particular order, here are my current top ten skills you need as a Trustee. I am learning about new attributes Trustees need all the time, so this isn’t a fixed list! I would love to hear your opinions, what do you think?

Passion into action
It is of fundamental important that you care about the aims of the charity that you are a Trustee for- but now you are on the Board, what are you going to do about it? What practical steps can you and the rest of the Board take to help the charity?

Finance skills
It is crucial that all Trustees have the ability to understand a budget and to review audited accounts. You don’t have to love figures, just to be able to work your way around them. Of course, if finance is your thing then you will be particularly in demand on Boards.

Adding something to a board
A skill; a perspective; a willingness to tackle a particular part of organisational development for the charity….this is a long list.

Fast learner
However experienced you are on Boards, when you join you have a new organisation to learn about with specific strengths and challenges. You need to try to hit the ground running. You also need to understand how the Board works. What angles are people coming from? What are their personalities like? How do you fit in? What skills do you lack that you might want to ask for some support with?

Collaborative approach
A Charity and its operations is made up of a lot of parts- beneficiaries, staff, Board members, other volunteers, funders, local press etc. While there will not be agreement all the time, you need to understand the priorities of others and to try to bring as many people together as possible towards a common vision.

Supportive nature
This takes two main forms. The first is with other Board members. They don’t have to be your best friends but it is good if you have a decent working relationship where you can be honest with each other. Go for a coffee (or pint) together if you can. Support them with the things they are less confident about and don’t be scared to ask for their help in return. The second form of support is about being supportive of the staff of the charity, if the charity is lucky enough to have staff. They may be under a lot of pressure in all sorts of ways. If you can praise them when they deserve it, support them when they need it, and know when you should get involved and when you shouldn’t: then ultimately the aims and ambitions of the charity are more likely to be fulfilled.

When you first join a Board, you may see very clearly where your skills are needed. But over time, the organisation will change, your fellow Trustees will change, and you will change. Be prepared to help out in ways that you hadn’t envisaged: your Trustee experience will be all the richer for it.

In the midst of budgets, strategy, staffing issues and funding crises, you need to remember why the charity is ultimately there. Beneficiaries, beneficiaries, beneficiaries. If your efforts are supporting the intended beneficiaries of the charity at present, and if your actions are going some way to help that support to continue into the future, then you are doing a good job.

One of the blessings of being a Trustee is having the time to help the charity decide the strategic direction it is going to take. Staff may be tied up in fighting fires and in providing much-needed day to day services. A Board, especially a balanced Board, should have the opportunity and skills to think about strategy. How is the charity doing? Could it do other things? Should it stop doing some things?

Fundraising skills
Last, but definitely not least, especially in the current financial climate. This might be anything from providing funding contacts and advice to helping run a cake sale. Again if you already have fundraising skills, you may be able to greatly help a charity from the moment you join.

Reach Volunteering: connecting people, skills and good causes.

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YMCA England
August 28th, 2012 by Reach

Reach Volunteering is teaming up with YMCA England offering a discounted service to help it fill trustee positions at member associations around the country.

Paul Smillie of YMCA England said:

“It is really good to be working with Reach. We always need new trustees to help us deliver our work throughout the UK. Reach is a very professional organisation that is attentive to clients’ needs. They are putting forward a good stream of suitable professionally skilled volunteers who make a valuable contribution to our associations.”

At a cost of £60 per role, Reach’s TrusteeWorks service promotes YMCA trustee roles to its database of 2500 available professional volunteers.

David Collins, Interim CEO of Reach, said:

“We are excited to be working with YMCA England and helping its associations find the right trustees they need to develop their board’s full potential. Having worked with YMCA, we have a strong understanding of what is important to them.”

Find out more about our TrusteeWorks service.

Reach Volunteering: connecting people, skills and good causes.

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May 25th, 2012 by Janet Thorne

With the Charity Commission recently debating the merits of formal training for charity trustees, I wanted to talk about Reach’s position.

I’d agree that there is an urgent need for much more training for trustees – to help them deal with increasingly complex issues raised. However, I also want to clarify and reinforce understanding of what a good trustee/chair does.

One common issue is that boards tend to develop their own set of behaviours and expectations. Where the board is weak, this perpetuates poor performance, and training for new trustees is crucial to arrest this. However even good boards could benefit from new trustees bringing in fresh and up to date perspectives on good governance.

Compulsory training would be problematic, but charities could have an expectation that new trustees would attend training. After all, schools expect all governors to attend training (both induction and specialist / update sessions).

The key question is who will pay for this? Most smaller charities have no budget at all for governance.

Janet Thorne leads Reach as Chief Executive

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Traditional college
March 28th, 2012 by Janet Thorne

In an article on Third Sector recently Peter Sandford set out why he doesn’t lose any sleep over the old boys’ network. I’d like to respond and put an alternative view.

There will always be a role for word of mouth and serendipity, but it’s not without its drawbacks.

As well as the lack of transparency and diversity mentioned, it can result in serious skills gaps on the board which can make it difficult for the charity to face new challenges. For example, I know of several charities in the care sector who want to increase the business skills on their boards, but the board members, who are largely from the care sector, simply don’t have these people in their networks. And the narrower the experience of the board the less likely they can plug these gaps from their own contacts.

However, there are more options than the author suggests. There are free places to advertise and services such Reach’s TrusteeWorks, which are low cost. We’d strongly encourage charities to spread their nets are far as possible, and ensure that recruitment does involve a process of ‘selection’, whether an interview or a more informal meeting, where both board and potential trustee test the waters and confirm that they want to move forwards.

It can make all the difference in the long run.

Janet Thorne leads Reach as Chief Executive

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October 13th, 2011 by Madeleine Boomgaarden

Whether you are new to trusteeship, considering taking on a role, wanting to brush up your governance skills or are responsible for leading a board, Reach’s free events in the North East will help you along your trusteeship journey.

Timed to coincide with national Trustees’ Week, our workshops focus on trustee management in tough times and what trusteeship is all about. Click on the links next to each event to book your place or find out more.

Trustee Management in Tough Times

  • Hosted by Reach Volunteering and NCVS
  • Friday 4 November, 12.30-5pm
  • The Collingwood Suite, Civic Centre

Aimed at anyone leading or supporting a trustee team, this free event offers a workshop on team building, advice on involving your trustees in fundraising and tips on trustee recruitment. There will also be governance advisors available for individual surgeries. To find out more and book your place click here.

The What, Why and How of Charity Trusteeship

  • Hosted by Reach Volunteering and GVOC
  • Thursday 3 November, 4-6.30pm
  • The Caedman Hall, Central Library, Gateshead

A free event aimed at those who are interested in becoming a trustee and who would like more information about what the role entails and the satisfactions which it brings. To find out more and book your place, click here.


Madeleine was Reach’s Marketing Manager until August 2014

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September 22nd, 2011 by Madeleine Boomgaarden

Find all the information you need to plan for Trustees’ Week in the autumn and build a great charity board at The handy guides build into an essential library of everything you need to know about trusteeship.

There’s a quick introduction to recruiting charity trustees, how to promote your vacancy and all about inductions for your trustee. You can also find examples of how to describe the roles of chair and trustee. Our introduction to a skills audit and a skills register will take you and your board through a simple but effective process to make sure your organisation stays supported.

And if you’re a volunteer looking for that perfect trustee role, don’t forget to read our guide on being a trustee. It covers the roles and responsibilities, skills needed and legal position of taking on that role. You can check out all our trustee resources here.

If you’re planning an event to support Trustees’ Week (31 October to 6 November), go to their free and downloadable resources at

Madeleine was Reach’s Marketing Manager until August 2014

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Caroline Beaumont
January 4th, 2011 by Reach

Caroline Beaumont joins Reach Volunteering as Director of Services and Business Development.

In the new position of Director of Services and Business Development Caroline will be responsible for expanding Reach’s services to increase the impact of skilled volunteering on the voluntary sector.

Reach Chief Executive Sarah King said, “Caroline has a keen interest in skilled volunteering and we are delighted that she has joined us to help build our service and profile at a time when the voluntary sector faces big challenges on the funding side and demand for support but also is presented with exciting opportunities.”

Caroline Beaumont said, “Reach has 30 years’ experience of matching volunteers’ skills with charities’ needs. The time is right to get even smarter about the operational, strategic and governance support that volunteers can bring and I’m looking forward to developing Reach’s services to help strengthen the skills base of the sector.”

Caroline recently completed a Fellowship on the Clore Social Leadership Programme.

She was previously Deputy Head of Corporate Development with Action for Children, Head of Marketing at Transaid and before that worked in Corporate Partnerships at Voluntary Service Overseas.

Reach Volunteering: connecting people, skills and good causes.

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November 24th, 2010 by Reach

Reach’s Trusteeworks service hits four placements a week

Reach Volunteering’s TrusteeWorks Service is placing about four trustees a week with voluntary organisations as the service gets into full swing. The service recently passed its 75th Trustee placement in 2010 – when two trustees with an HR background were appointed within Emmaus,  a UK-wide charity which enables people to move on from homelessness by providing work and a home in a supportive, family environment.

Wendy Marsh of Emmaus said:

“The TrusteeWorks team at Reach were very helpful in finding Trustees for us. With their assistance we have been able to recruit to a number of Trustee roles throughout the organisation, and the skills and expertise that these individuals have brought into the organisation have been invaluable”.

Reach Chief Executive Sarah King said:

“Getting past our 75th TrusteeWorks placement is a big landmark.  TrusteeWorks is now a year old and given that trustee appointments can take up to six months to secure, I am pleased the service is picking up pace. We are now starting to see the impact that the service could have on the trustee recruitment needs of the sector with around 250 organisations currently working with us to find new trustees.”

Janet Thorne, the TrusteeWorks Services Manager said:

“TrusteeWorks adds real value helping organisations improve their trustee recruitment methods. It is estimated that it takes more than 20 hours of board and senior management time in searching to fill each trustee vacancy, and the £75 to £350 fee for TrusteeWorks represents a big cost saving on this. More than that though, we can offer candidates from a wider pool of volunteer trustees than is normally available to individual charities and we can help them to achieve a more effective and varied board.”

TrusteeWorks in 2011

Reach plans an increased focus for TrusteeWorks next year to help charities fill vacancies for Chairperson and Treasurer roles which experience shows are harder to fill than other trustee positions.

It will also be working with charities to help them achieve a good balance of professional skills, such as HR, finance, marketing and IT, as well as wider career and life experience on their board. Reach’s downloadable Training Skills Audit is a good starting point for this.

Reach Volunteering: connecting people, skills and good causes.

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