Trustee Week - Simon Blake OBE | Stonewall Trustees Week - Simon Blake
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Trustee Week - Simon Blake OBE

This week (7 - 13 November), is Trustees’ Week, a time to celebrate the work of trustees across the UK. There are approximately one million of us. We give up our time freely to ensure charities are doing good work, with a clear strategy, governance, and oversight.

It is a privilege to be deputy chair of Stonewall, Britain’s largest lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity. I work closely with the chair, Jan Gooding, and the rest of the board to provide effective governance of Stonewall including strategy development and review, financial oversight, scrutiny and support to the Chief Executive, Ruth Hunt and the staff at Stonewall.

This is a really exciting time for Stonewall. We have achieved so much -  repealing Section 28, equalizing the age of consent, the introduction of civil partnerships, equal marriage and so much more. We are now on an important journey as an LGBT charity to bring about the legal, social and cultural change necessary to ensure everyone is accepted without exception.

Clearly, we are a long, long way from that. The last few months have seen an unprecedented and frankly horrifying rise in hate crime. Through our work, we tackle the root causes of prejudice, hate and fear which manifests in all sorts of ways. Our trustee board is in no doubt that despite massive strides towards equality since Stonewall began in 1989, there is still so much more to do to tackle the homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, racism and misogyny which exists both outside and inside the LGBT community.

It is an exciting journey, one we as trustees are absolutely committed to. But we are only one small part of the picture and we cannot do it alone. On behalf of the board, I want to thank the brilliant staff, volunteers, our partners and supporters who make Stonewall's incredible work possible. On a personal level, I would also like to thank my fellow trustees and particularly Jan as Chair for making the board a vibrant, dynamic, supportive and challenging space to be in.

As well as being Trustees’ Week, these are the final few days of the inaugural Stonewall Season - a fantastic festival of LGBT culture and life which has seen people putting on activities around Britain in support of our work. Please do read more and find out how you can get involved.

Many of you reading this will be trustees of charities doing brilliant work. If you are not already a trustee, do consider it. It is personally rewarding and often professional stretching. Together as trustees, we play a vital role in supporting the charity sector to be a vibrant hub of innovation, change, and social cohesion. Charities are often quite literally a lifeline.

Our life-changing work at Stonewall for LGBT rights continues; fighting for change, celebrating LGBT life, culture and contribution and ensuring we can be our whole self at work, at play and in our communities. We will continue until everyone is accepted without exception. 

Stonewall will be looking to recruit new members of the board in early 2017, the recruitment process will be announced in due course.