14th November 2019, Athlone, Co. Westmeath: Charity Trustees’ representing not-for-profit organisations, community and local development groups from across Co. Westmeath attended  the Managing Better – Support and Advice for Trustees event which took place in the ATK Community Centre, Athlone. Hosted by Pobal, who work on behalf of Government to support communities, the event was an important opportunity for local trustees to reflect on the key role which they play in the governance and leadership of charities in Ireland.

The event coincided with various initiatives and activities which took place nationwide as part of Charity Trustees’ Week 2019.  Almost 80 representatives from community groups attended Pobal’s ‘Managing Better – Support and Advice for Trustees’ event which was chaired by Paul Skinnader, Executive Director of Pobal. Speakers included Ita McConville, Pobal Company Secretary, Eva Gurn, CEO of Boardmatch Ireland and Geraldine Lacey from Westmeath Community Development who shared her personal experience of joining a local Board.

Speaking about Charity Trustees’ Week and the Managing Better – Support and Advice for Trustees event, Paul Skinnader, Executive Director of Pobal said:

“Charity Trustees’ Week is an excellent opportunity to focus on the tremendous work of boards and trustees. Pobal works closely alongside board members and trustees operating across the community, voluntary and not-for-profit sector. One of the topics which is raised on a regularly basis with Pobal is the challenges for national and locally based community groups and agencies when working to ensure good organisational governance.

The purpose of the event in Athlone is to celebrate the many achievements of trustees while also providing an opportunity to discuss existing challenges and also drawing on resources such as Pobal’s Managing Better Series of Guides which are available to inform and support Trustees”.

Also speaking at the event was Geraldine Lacey, Trustee from Westmeath Community Development Board. Geraldine shared her personal experiences of serving on a Board of Directors with delegates in attendance explaining:

“When an individual first joins a Board of Directors for a local group or organisation it is usually for a reason they are extremely passionate about and have a huge interest in seeing the organisation succeed. While it is a large responsibility to take on, there is also huge support available out there to assist trustees and Charity Trustee’s Week is about highlighting the resources, training and requirements in terms of reporting which national organisations such as the Charity Regulator, Charities Institute Ireland and Pobal can support with in the background.”

The ‘Managing Better Guides’, a resource available to Charity Trustees were designed and produced by Pobal to support and assist boards and committees within the community, voluntary and not-for-profit sector to achieve high standards of decision-making, accountability and transparency both in the context of the communities they seek to support, and in the context of meeting statutory and legal requirements.

Originally published in 2011, the series of three guides have been updated to reflect changes in the governance landscape. Available as an online resource from Pobal the Managing Better Guides include detailed information in regards to; good governance, financial management, and human resources. The guides also provide useful information and direction for voluntary boards and management committees who are responsible for ensuring that not-for-profit organisations deliver on their objectives, are well managed and produce positive outcomes for communities and individuals.

Pobal’s Managing Better Guides are available here