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MCF Trustee Steph visit to MCF projects

As a COVID appointed Trustee to MCF, the meetings and interactions with the charity had been pretty much limited to remote platforms – which worked really well given the exceptional circumstances in which we have been operating. But finally, in August I took a trip to the Bikery in Shipley to see the set up and meet some of the staff in person.

I was totally blown away by the size of the Bikery I have to say, even though I’d seen photos on line on our website. It was much larger than I’d realised and packed with bikes for sale or ready to be repaired.

Whilst I was visiting customers came and went and it was good to see that they recognised the high quality service the team offer, with helpful practical advice and information. It was also good to see that financial donations for our work were being received, not really a bonus, more a necessity.

Meeting the staff team was a big thing for me, again I’d met staff on line but it’s nothing to meeting people in person, Jamie, Helen, John and Glenn made me welcome but also gave me a valuable insight into the challenges that they face day to day with managing the demand for repairs, the constant need to have bike donations coming in which we can either refurbish or use as spares – as Trustees we may see this in a report but to hear the details was invaluable.

I spent time with Helen, learning more about our work in prisons, the celebration points and again some more of the nuanced challenges of working with the prisons. It was great to hear both Helen and Jamie in particular talk about the organisation needs for the future.

I think the biggest message I took from my visit which I’d like to share with other Trustees, is to make sure you visit the organisation who’s Board you sit on. It’s part of our Trustee role – understanding the work that the charity or social enterprise is delivering, and by having that direct connection it’s so much easier to understand and appreciate what is needed from us as Trustees. We don’t need to get involved in the day to day running – oh no, but for staff to see us, know who we are and that we exist to strategically support their work and the work of the organisation – that’s critical. So, get in there, do your visit and celebrate the charity or social enterprise that you support.

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