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Being a voluntary board member – it’s a two-way street!

Written by: Dale Archer
Published on: 9 Dec 2019

In our second blog of Trustees Week, we celebrate more great work of ICAEW staff in voluntary board roles. Charity trustees and voluntary board members come from all walks of life. What can you do to make a difference today?

Darren Paterson works in professional standards and is a voluntary board member with Northamptonshire Rural Housing Association. 


Darren, why did you become a board member?

I became a voluntary board member, in part ‘to give something back’, but also to improve my own strategic skills. It’s a two-way street!


Can you tell us a bit about the charity and your role?

NRHA provides and manages affordable homes for local people and families who would not otherwise be able to afford to live in the villages where they have grown up, work, or have close family ties. We specialise in identifying ‘exception sites’ in villages which would ordinarily not get planning permission, and work with parish councils and borough councils to design and build small affordable housing developments.

I’ve been a board member for about 4 years, am Vice Chair of the association, and I also chair the Finance Committee. Being a qualified accountant, I bring financial oversight skills to the Board, but am also always learning a lot about the sector. The time commitment isn’t huge - I attend eight 2-hour meetings a year.


What are some of the things that inspire you about your role?

We all have different skills we can share with charities that are crying out for them. In July the Board had a field trip – literally, as we were visiting potential new sites for building, but we also met some existing residents. One was a lady in her eighties in the Northamptonshire village of Yarwell living in a lovely NRHA bungalow. She had moved up from the South to be near to her daughter, who lived in the same village, and without being able to rent an NRHA property, she would never have been able to do that.


To find your next volunteering role, check out the opportunities advertised on ICAEW Volunteers