This Trustees Week I thought I would reflect on my 18 months as a Trustee at the West Hampstead Women’s Centre and explain why I think everyone should be a Trustee.

The West Hampstead Women’s Centre is a bright gem in the centre of the borough of Camden and has been doing amazing work for over 30 years. The Centre provides holistic services for women; dealing with mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. The Centre is one of the safest places I have ever visited, from the way it’s decorated to the smiling faces of the volunteers, to the atmosphere itself; it creates a feeling of welcoming and beginning.

The Centre is incredibly unique in London; it is one of the few women-only centres left, who serves women of all cultures and ages. We offer over 21 different services from cancer support groups to NVQ and Employment Support to Pilates,osteopathy and CAB Outreach.

I was first drawn to the Centre when I saw their ethos of ‘Supporting all women under one roof’ this inclusive message really struck me and I was intrigued to see what happened behind those doors to support some of the most marginalised and disadvantaged women in my community.

“I walked through the doors in my hour of need and was given a lifeline.” West Hampstead Women’s Centre, Service User

The Centre is run by a phenomenal woman, Rukhsana Chishti, who has done a brilliant job at keeping the Centre running through tough times and good in the past couple of decades. The Centre is run by an amazing number of volunteers,over 70, who ensure our services and helpdesk remain open Monday to Friday.

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The Trustee board are an incredibly likeable and diverse range of women who all share the commitment to making the Centre a safe, friendly, welcoming space for women whilst providing much-needed care and support.

My time as a Trustee has been incredible, I have learnt so much from the people around me and it’s been fantastic seeing the Centre flourish and grow. With the cuts on their way across the Camden Borough, now is the time for the Trustees to really look to how we can protect the Centre and ensure its 30-year legacy continues for the future generation of girls and women who need the Centre.

It is in tough times that you are reminded how important your role as Trustee is and the responsibility you have to ensure that your service continues and your beneficiaries are supported.

I can’t wait for our Festive Celebration this December where I will see a number of women graduate with their NVQs and I can join all the women of the Centre from service user to volunteer to celebrate the amazing work in 2015 and the year ahead.

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If you live in North London please do consider becoming a member of the Centre (only £6), it has amazing services and you certainly won’t regret it. And it would be remiss of me not to mention donating to the Centre or if you’re looking for a new volunteering opportunity, take a look here.

And for any talented community fundraisers out there, if you fancy offering me some pro-bono advice on how to continue raising money for the Centre I would be greatly appreciated.

Finally, I cannot say enough that everyone should become a Trustee, no matter your age. You will get out of it as much as you put in, and there are small charities all over the UK that could hugely benefit from your expertise (especially if you’re a fundraiser). So get out and do, help make a difference in your local community.

 

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