Meet our new Chairman!

on Thursday, 08 December 2016. Posted in Blog Tags Business, CancerCare, Charity, Governance, Lancaster, Trustees

We've been speaking to Andrew Birchall, CancerCare's new Chairman, to hear more about the important role of  charity trustees, and, why he's decided to lend his support to CancerCare.


When and how did you first hear about CancerCare?

I first became aware of CancerCare in 2012 when I met the then Chief Executive at a local business event and subsequently, was commissioned to undertake a consultancy assignment on their behalf.

 What motivated you to become a Trustee?

I was first impressed, especially by the commitment, shown by everyone I met, whether they were a trustee, employee, volunteer or therapist. In short, there is something about CancerCare that just resonates and then you become hooked. So, when I was invited to join as a Trustee it seemed a natural step to take and I continue to be enthused by the work we do.

What is the best thing about being a Trustee at CancerCare?

For me, the best thing is having the opportunity to put my skills and experience to good use by helping a cause I care about. There is a great spirit within the organisation and I enjoy working with a very talented team who share in a common goal.

And the most challenging?

At a high level, balancing the short and long term interests of the organisation to ensure its future sustainability can be challenging. However, we have developed a clear three year plan that provides the framework for our future development and which we review annually for the coming three years. This helps us to keep our focus and measure our progress.

What are the main role/responsibilities of a Trustee?

As a Trustee there are some fundamental responsibilities that must be undertaken including: ensuring the charity is carrying out the purposes set out within its governing document ; making sure that the charity is operating within charity law requirements; managing the charity’s resources responsibly ; and always acting in the charity’s best interests. There is some fun stuff too!

What skills and experiences do Trustees need to have?

Trustees with a variety of skills and experience help create a balanced Trustee Board and there are no barriers in terms of skill and experience. Time is a key asset for a Trustee to be able to offer.

How important are Trustees in a charity and what role do they play in the organisation?

Trustees have an essential role within a charity, of course there is the legal requirement, but thereafter comes the rewarding stuff. A Trustee can make a huge difference to a charity like CancerCare and whilst there are the broader elements to the role like contributing to the development of strategy and ensuring good governance, working with and providing support to the Executive Team and others within the organsiation, is hugely rewarding.

Other roles are varied, for example cake judging can seem innocent enough, but is in fact one of the more serious roles to be bestowed upon a Trustee at CancerCare and is not to be taken lightly! (Andrew is pictured below at our October Bake Off Coffee Morning event where he was guest judge!)


What would you say to someone thinking of becoming a Trustee for the first time?

My advice would be that if there is a cause close to your heart and you have some time available, then do it!

Would you be interested in joining our Trustee Board and helping to make a difference to the lives of local families affected by cancer? We are currently recruiting new members and would love to hear from you.

Find out more >>