Dr Gillian Schiller, chairman elect of the board of trustees at St Luke’s Hospice, tells us about the volunteer trustee role
Dr Gillian Schiller, chairman elect of the board of trustees at St Luke's Hospice
Tell us about St Luke's Hospice and the work you do
St Luke's Hospice looks after people in Harrow and Brent whose illnesses are no longer curable. We help and empower them to enjoy the best possible quality of life, knowing their family and carers are supported too. We aim to care for people in the place of their choice, and for many this is in their homes, supported by our Hospice at Home and Community Teams, in our Woodgrange Day Centre, or for some in our In-Patient Unit.
We work in partnership with, and provide education and support to GPs, community teams, nursing homes, and other healthcare professionals to ensure the highest levels of care for patients, whatever the setting.
Why would someone want to work for St Luke's Hospice?
The hospice has the privilege of helping people and their loved ones when time is precious. The environment is focused on providing holistic, supportive care that is absolutely centred around the needs and wishes of the individual. Hospice staff have time for listening, skills to provide comfort, and an understanding of the importance of dignity to everyone we meet.
So you're recruiting for a volunteer trustee - what does the role involve?
As a volunteer trustee you will help set the strategy for the hospice and make sure that it meets its objectives. You will work as part of the board to set policy and monitor progress towards agreed goals. Every day management is provided by staff who regularly report to the trustees.
Trustees get the chance to take part in hospice fundraising activities of their choice, including attending local events, taking part in walks and other challenges such as parachute jumping and the annual Midnight Walk.
What's the best bit about the role of a volunteer trustee?
The hospice is a vibrant, positive, can-do organisation that is always looking to improve services and make sure that people we support get the best possible experience. Being part of that team is energising, knowing that what we do makes a real difference to every person with whom St Luke’s has contact.
Why would someone want to give up their time for this role?
The experience of being part of a team with the aim of helping people to die with dignity is profoundly important and special. The staff are passionate about the work of the hospice and it’s wonderful to spend time with them and see how completely the person being cared for is totally at the heart of the organisation.
What kind of person are you looking for?
Trustees bring their general judgement and values to the hospice but St Luke’s is also currently looking to recruit people with skills and experience in HR / people management; clinical (especially primary care); branding/marketing; and fundraising. We hope to have a Board that reflects our community, so apply if you are young or old; from any ethnic or religious community; and if you are new to the area or a longstanding resident.
What exciting projects are you working on?
We are helping more and more people to be cared for and die in the place of their choice, One of our projects is supporting and training staff in care homes to support and care for residents towards the end of their lives rather than being admitted to hospital which has often been the case until now. We’ve also started a partnership with a health research and quality organisation to help us further develop our outpatient and day care. And for our 30th birthday in 2017 we’ve got a raft of exciting fundraising events planned.
What opportunities for training and development are there?
Trustees have a full induction programme, including training sessions on hospice governance, finance for non-financial people, and the legal position and responsibilities of trustees. Trustees are also encouraged to spend time with people working in all parts of the organisation and to attend relevant conferences and learning events throughout their tenure.
What tips would you offer applicants?
Show us your passion for the hospice. Let us know what you expect to contribute and what you’d like to gain. Show us that you have the time to fulfil your trustee role, including attending committees and board meetings, and promoting St Luke’s whenever the opportunity arises.
Sum up what it’s like to work for St Luke's Hospice
Working with St Luke’s is an all round positive experience. Staff are deeply dedicated to what we do, and seek ways to do it better at every turn. It is truly a life affirming experience and repays every hour you give to its leadership and support to its management.