The working life of a hospice trustee

By News Team on November 14, 2018

Allan Beardsworth at the Manchester Midnight Walk

Allan Beardsworth is a trustee and treasurer at St Ann’s. 

Ever since I was a child I’ve always wanted to do good things. My earliest fundraising was when still at primary school.  I was brought up that way. Throughout my working life I’ve always tried to surround myself with like-minded people who are benevolent. I attracted clients of that nature, and in my 30s and 40s I started to give some of my working time to various charity roles. I think that’s why it was inevitable that I would take on a trustee role at some point in my life.

As a chartered accountant and when I was a tax partner at Deloitte LLP, I had many clients who supported charities. I also advised many charities, and it was when I decided to retire from that position that I was approached by St Ann’s who asked if I would like to join their Board.

That was in 2015, and I now spend half my time working for my own clients, and half the time working for St Ann’s and two other important charities.  It’s a great mix, and I thoroughly enjoy the balance it gives me.

Hospices are places that are close to my heart for a number of reasons.  I’ve had personal experiences of hospice care with my own family – in fact the first time I ever met my wife’s father was in St Ann’s.  My mother died in the loving care of St Rocco’s Hospice, Warrington, and I felt then, as I do now, that hospices give the kind of care that really wraps the whole family up in a supportive blanket.

Trustees have an important part to play in any charity.  We need to be involved enough to be helpful and to provide guidance, and we need to act as ambassadors for the hospice.  I think it’s really important for trustees to share what they have learnt outside of the hospice environment too – a balanced Board with a range of skills, experiences and backgrounds is vital in order to ensure that we can provide a diverse outlook.

There’s no typical day for a trustee.  I often have several meetings in one day when I’m at St Ann’s.  I like to arrive early and sit in the café area of the hospice to chat to patients, families, staff and volunteers as they come in and out.  It’s really important to me to do this as I strongly believe that trustees need to remain in touch with the people who access the services of the organisation, as well as those who help to deliver them.

I attend fundraising events too, such as the Manchester Midnight Walk or the hospice Christmas Fairs. I’m not a fan of shopping normally, but there’s nothing better than seeing lots of people gathered together raising money for our cause. Our Light a Life Christmas services are intensely moving for what St Ann’s means to so many in Manchester, and a time for personal reflection of loved ones I have lost.

Another important part of my role is to network with other trustees from hospices across the country.  Eamonn, our Chief Executive, and I have been lucky enough to visit several hospices in recent months and I’ve enjoyed meeting others and sharing knowledge and expertise.  One of the great things about the hospice sector is that we don’t compete with each other – the will for hospices to share and support one another is something which really struck me when I joined St Ann’s, and it’s incredibly helpful to be able to learn from each other.

It’s actually a very exciting time to be involved in the hospice sector, particularly in Greater Manchester.  The devolution of healthcare budgets here has meant that there are unique challenges for us to overcome, but there are many significant opportunities for us too.  Trustees are perfectly placed to offer guidance and to help open doors for an organisation, and I do try to share my network of contacts wherever I can.

It can be very busy and very demanding being a trustee of a hospice, but it’s incredibly rewarding too.  It’s actually a real privilege to be part of the St Ann’s community. It’s such a happy, positive place full of warmth and love, and it’s a real pleasure coming to work here.  Being part of such a dynamic team is what drives me to keep being involved, and I’m excited about what the future will bring for St Ann’s.

We need to raise £20,000 every day to keep the hospice doors open

We’re more than just a charity to our patients. Every single penny donated makes a huge difference to their lives.

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