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Post | November 2022 | Trustees | 2 min read

Louise's story

Written by Laura Bazley
Photograph of Louise

Louise Russ (pictured right) is a Trustee for Diversity Voice - Culture & Community, a charity which provides support and services to prevent marginalisation and works towards equality for all. She is also Treasurer for Citizens Advice Sedgemoor, her local village hall and is a member of the board at Victoria Park Community Centre (VPCC) in Bridgwater.

Here, she explains what motivated her to become a Trustee and how the role benefits her. 


“I moved to Somerset in 2004 with my late husband, but he sadly died shortly after we arrived. I wanted to stay in the area but needed a challenge to occupy my mind and my time, so I decided to volunteer, initially for Citizens Advice, and later with several more charities, including Diversity Voice.  

"Overall, I’ve had an extremely fortunate life and I wanted to give something back. Initially I applied to be a Volunteer Adviser with Citizens Advice, but they suggested a Treasurer role might be more suitable because of my background in finance and management.   

“My work mainly involves having oversight of all financial matters and reporting to the Board of Trustees. This includes authorisation of salaries and payments, and preparing and and reviewing financial statements, management accounts, budgets, funding requests, and cash flow forecasts.  

"I help ensure that the organisations I support remain financially viable, understand the financial implications of the decisions they make, and minimise any financial risks. 

“The skills I bring to the role give fellow Trustees a better understanding of finance which leads to better use of cash resources, better planning for the future, and lower risk of unsustainable losses.  

“Trustees are responsible for stewardship of charities and some of the decisions they need to make are complex and difficult, but it is a great way to see the bigger picture of how charities work.

"It doesn’t need to take up an enormous amount of time, as meetings are generally only quarterly. So, it’s a good option for people who would like to volunteer and have relevant skills such as legal, financial, HR, sales, marketing, IT, property, management, secretarial or local government) but have limited time to spare. 

"I would recommend Trusteeship to anyone who is hoping to improve their management skills and opportunities, as it gives a great insight into the governance of many organisations, not only charities. It looks good on your CV and many employers will recognise the benefits as it provides a very effective training program for employees progressing up the management hierarchy.   

Trusteeship gives me a focus and a sense of achievement and has enabled me to meet loads of fantastic like-minded people.”  

Natalie Dyson, the CEO of Diversity Voice, comments:

“Louise has been the backbone of this organisation for over seven years now. Her unique blend of trusteeship skills and experience cover everything from accounting to strategic planning, HR to operations and everything in between. This has been absolutely invaluable to us as a small charity without any core funding. She has been the bedrock of support to the executive and operational function, providing sage advice and guidance and acting as the steady hand on our tiller. Louise is hugely well liked and respected by her fellow trustees, the management team and employees alike and it is thanks largely to her contribution and dedication that Diversity Voice has grown to the organisation it has become today.”

To find out more about becoming a Trustee in Somerset, please click the link below.

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