Voluntary groups are in danger of folding if they don’t get more interaction from all sectors of society.
That’s the message from Falkirk volunteer centre chief executive Karen Herbert, as she embarks on a mission to get more people on the boards of local organisations.
Anyone can be on a board. You don’t need skills or qualifications in some cases, but most people don’t even give it a second thought thinking that being a board member is something out of their reach.
Karen said: “It really can be anybody, but most people don’t think they can be on a board or a committee. It means you’re on the board of a charity or a third sector organisation, which could be a local community group, or it could be part of a big national, it’s all the same thing.
“It’s really just helping to govern the organisation and help define where it’s going, it’s direction of travel for the future and anybody can do it.
“You don’t need any qualifications on the whole. It’s about younger people as well as older people, anybody who has got an interest can find a local organisation that can fulfil their interest.
“Anybody who has got a skill would be grabbed – there is always a huge shortage of treasurers because accountants don’t normally say they are accountants because they want to do something different from their day job.
“But to be a treasurer you don’t always have to do overly much. In another group I chair, the treasurer there does do the accounts but they only have about 25 transactions a year so it’s not a big task.”
Karen is appealing for people from across society’s spectrum to get involved on the boards of local charities and groups to ensure the local third sector thrives.
With health and council budgets tightening, these organisation are increasingly looking to the likes of CVS and the volunteer groups it helps to deliver services communities require.
Karen added: “We want people who have never been part of the third sector to come along and take a look at the opportunities available to them. In the past health groups have disintegrated because the people on them had the conditions themselves and struggled to keep the groups going.
“As health groups move more towards the third sector for care, we will need an increasing amount of people who can help deliver this on the boards.
“Women are under-represented on boards, as are young people, as are any kind of ethnicity unless you have a specifically ethnic charity.
“Typically it’s someone who has been a senior manager in industry who is retired and thinks that they have something to give who will join a board, and that’s great because they do have something to give.
“But the young mum, who has perhaps just given up her job for her young kids is someone who could actually be doing something really useful when their kids are at school, but they tend not to think about it.
“People straight out of uni don’t think how something could really be adding value to their CV at the same time as doing something very positive in their communities.
“Everyone is equal on a board, everyone has a voice and everyone’s voice is valid.”