Get to know one of our Trustees
As it’s Trustee’s Week, we thought it would be a great opportunity to get to know one of our Trustees a bit better. Read our Q&A with Colin, Trustee of 4 years who will also soon become Chair of the Board.
How long have you been a Trustee and what brought you to the Wilberforce Trust?
I’ve been a trustee since November 2016. I’ve have a background working with a leading eye surgery company, so have an interest in visual impairment and all things eyes (I know far too much about eyes – not a popular dinner party conversation). The Trust has informed me of the struggles people with visual and hearing impairment face and I learned how that the Trust can support so many people. I also used to be a Parish Councillor and wanted another opportunity to make a contribution to the local community.
The Trust is fantastic in what it does for Yorkshire residents and their families and it’s been my honour to be associated with it for the last four years.
What do you think the biggest challenges and achievements have been in that time?
The world is constantly evolving and the way we care for those with disabilities is changing with it. There is an overwhelming body of evidence that says that the more we can allow people to live independently, with the appropriate support, the better it is for their wellbeing. The Wilberforce Trust has led and continues to lead the way for people with visual impairment and other disabilities and through Wilberforce House will take the next step in that journey. But I think for me, Club Wilber has been a real game changer for the local (and not so local) community. We’ve made a huge difference for children and their families, providing activities that are inclusive for everyone.
Where do you see the Trust in 5 years’ time?
We have to and we will continue to evolve. It’s hard to say how that will look, especially while we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, having to adapt exceptionally quickly to continue the support in differing ways. Clearly, we are excited to be building specially designed apartments and a living and learning zone, Wilberforce House.
Everyone is working hard to see this transition into the next era of Wilberforce Trust. However, we know there are sections of the local community that we could be supporting more and it is important for us to expand our reach. Our representation in BAME communities is lacking and while we’ve started down the path with Club Wilber there is an age bracket in teens and young adults that we have so much more work to do to support them.
How do you think the Trust has managed since the COVID-19 pandemic?
COVID-19 has really impacted our tenants, clients staff and volunteers. It’s been terrible for everybody but the care sector has been particularly badly hit as has been reported in the press. The Wilberforce Trust team has not only responded with incredible professionalism but have gone above and beyond for all our tenants and clients showing how passionate they are about the care and support they give. This makes not only myself proud but I know all the board members feel the same.
What is the most interesting thing about being a Trustee?
Four years is such a short time in the history of The Wilberforce Trust but so much has changed. Not just the people but the approach we have taken and progress we have made towards helping our tenants and clients. As a geek, seeing how technology has evolved to support this aim has been fascinating and I see this continuing to be a key factor in how we support the visually impaired community in the future. I know we will continue to engage the VI and HI communities and respect lived experience feedback in order to help shape what comes next.
When you aren’t doing your role as a Trustee how do you like to spend your spare time?
I have two kids who demand a lot of Daddy Taxi duties from dance and acting to athletics and horse riding. Not that I begrudge them that as I am one very proud Dad .
Name a person alive or dead who you would like to have dinner with…
My girlfriend. Due to COVID-19 we’ve not been able to see each other since March.
The Wilberforce Trust is dedicated to helping those with visual impairment, sight loss, hearing loss and other disabilities across York, North Yorkshire and the surrounding areas.