I am currently a trustee for Valley Leisure Limited – an independent charitable trust based in Andover. Established over 30 years ago, the charity aims to improve people’s health and wellbeing by providing facilities and services that enable people from a range of age groups to move more and feel better.

As a lecturer in strategic sport management in sport at Solent University, I was particularly impressed with their approach to management of competitive socialising something which has grown significantly post-pandemic in the ten-pin bowling and interactive gaming space, but more importantly their work in exercise referral and rehabilitation spaces with aging and elderly groups which is also a growth area.

I have prior experience of governance for educational charities and schools so was keen to bring that experience to this organisation. These kinds of roles are usually a four-to-five-year commitment, and I’ve been a trustee for two now.

I offer up my time to sit on their board of trustees to advise on strategic decisions and provide oversight of marketing, finance and business planning. As a trustee you are required to attend regular meetings, approve motions, and read (lots) of paperwork. You’re not there to interfere with operational activities, but to act as a sounding board, and to provide reasoned and objective support. Trustees are also responsible for financial stewardship, so it brings a level of responsibility.

It can be challenging but rewarding. Helping to build connections between organisations and watching them develop and grow is really satisfying.

This current trustee role is also helping me professionally, by keeping me connected to an industry sector that my teaching relies heavily on me being current with.

It’s a less common form of volunteering but if the opportunity arises its always worth saying yes to.

  • This article was written by Anya Higgins, who has volunteered her time to various educational organisations for over 15 years.