This is a piece that OCAY’s Chair of Trustees; Rachel Totton wrote for the OCAY Newsletter, where she speaks about her role as a Trustee and recruiting a new Vice-Chair Trustee:

“I’ve been involved with OCAY since about 2008, first as a volunteer, then a trustee and currently chair of trustees for more than six years. I got involved because advocacy interested me, and because working with older people represented a real change from my previous role as a secondary headteacher. I feel I’ve learnt an enormous amount during that time, and never regretted getting on board.

I’ve seen OCAY continue to develop over the years, and this has really gathered pace in the last 4 or 5 years, making us a much more ‘professional’ organisation – albeit one which is powered by the excellence not just of our staff but also of our volunteers, who are all keen to work to well defined standards and guidelines.  We have an incredibly committed team of trustees, too – many of them long-serving, but also with the ability to attract new people with fresh solutions to old problems. It’s a good mix, and leads to productive discussion.

As you will see from the advert elsewhere in the newsletter, we are currently seeking to recruit a new trustee as vice chair, hopefully with the potential to become chair in a few months’ time.  Why are we taking this approach?  As well as personally having for the last couple of years had the pull of caring for elderly parents living at considerable distance, I also feel it’s time for a fresh take on the role of chair – too many organisations don’t get the opportunity for renewal often enough. For perfectly legitimate reasons, no one on the existing team of trustees feels able to take on this role at the present time, though all are keen to be active and to have governance work delegated to them when needed.  To be honest, with the level of support there is, I could carry on as chair, but I come back to the point that I feel it would be beneficial for the organisation to have a change before too long. We would love to find someone who shares our passion for OCAY, and might feel able to grow into the role of chair before too long, after a suitable handover period. So if you know anyone who might be good at this, please give them a nudge.


The role of trustee is a really interesting one – in my view, not at all the dry paper-driven role that people often imagine.  It’s a great privilege to be able to share work on the direction of the organisation with staff, and to ensure that there is an appropriate focus on whether the work of the organisation is having the desired impact. Being able to celebrate the successes is the icing on the cake.”