Sophie Andreae - Council Member
My day job is a Historic Buildings Advisor and I’ve been involved with governance in other heritage sector organisations. So, when the opportunity to volunteer in a governance capacity, I jumped at the chance.
As a Council member, I attend the quarterly meetings and participate in a wide-range of discussions and debates. With my historic buildings experience, I’ve been invited to site meetings with Trust staff at properties where aspects of restoration, conservation or presentation of buildings were being planned or developed. It’s incredibly rewarding to be involved in the early stage of a project and then see it progress. Conservation issues are often complex and judgements can be finely balanced requiring expert knowledge, care and understanding. It’s encouraging to know that the expertise of Council members is valued.
I've also been a member of the Nominations Committee for elections to Council, and involved in interviewing prospective candidates. A CV will only tell you so much, and there’s no substitute for meeting people and having the opportunity to find out about their areas of interest and assessing what contribution they might be able to make. It’s a very rewarding process, particularly when you see talented, committed people getting involved with the National Trust in a voluntary capacity.
How would I describe the culture here? There’s an openness of approach, a warm welcome and active willingness on the part of staff to help governance volunteers do what they need to do. Charities – even very large ones like the National Trust – can always benefit from having experienced and knowledgeable people who can give help and advice impartially, with no vested interest or axe to grind. People with the right skills set for handling governance-type issues are likely the find the National Trust an interesting, rewarding organisation to volunteer for. The Trust’s work is so important in this country today. It’s good to be a part of it.