I was appointed as a Trustee for Thames Valley Air Ambulance in 2014 and have continued to support the work of this life-saving charity ever since.
Why Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA)?
I previously worked on the rebranding of the London Air Ambulance and gained a good insight into the vital role that the air ambulance services provide. Applying to be a trustee was like applying for any senior role; it’s quite competitive, so there were interviews and meetings with the other trustees and the chairman to explore my relevant experience and skills set – in other words what would I bring to the party? Coming from a global brand development background, I was able to offer skills around brand development and integrated marketing campaigns – ideal experience to help support the work of the Fundraising and Engagement Committee (FEC).
TVAA brings the hospital to you – but what does that really mean? With a doctor and paramedic on-board the helicopter or a critical care car, they bring the skills and expertise of a hospital to the scene of an incident. The pilots, paramedics and doctors work together as a team, along with other emergency services to deliver the best care for patients. They carry state of the art equipment with them, which means they can perform critical medical procedures prior to the patient arriving at hospital. The crew can relieve pain, straighten broken limbs, and deliver emergency anaesthesia among a long list of vital medical care. Through research they learn and base their decisions and investments on solid understanding and evidence. They continue to build on their success and strive to overcome barriers to bring innovative technologies and medical interventions to their patients.
My fellow trustees come from a range of backgrounds but are all highly regarded experts in their fields. Being able to work alongside and learn from them, and from the charity staff and volunteers, is an inspiring experience. The volunteers are an amazing group of people, passionately supporting and fundraising for the charity. Being part of both the Board and FEC allows me to continue my strategic brand development work in a different area, all of which is valuable for my own development and for my work at vivacity.
Why become a Trustee?
There are currently about 168,000 charities registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Trustees are ultimately responsible for everything a charity does and can be held accountable for the decisions they make. Therefore trustees are encouraged to undertake relevant training to ensure that we remain up to speed with current legislation.
Personally, working in the health arena, being involved in a charity in a related field is interesting, and as a horse rider I am only too aware of possible scenarios where I might be in need of urgent and expert medical assistance. I think it’s important to get to know the organisation before you accept a role, and explore whether your values and expectations are aligned.
I gain an immense amount of satisfaction from working with TVAA and feel very proud of the incredible work that the charity does, especially as it moves forward with a new operating model as an independent medical organisation, employing medics directly and taking full responsibility for clinical governance to ensure TVAA remains at the forefront of saving lives.