This Month’s Trustee Blog comes from Gillian Caldicott, one of our newest Trustees. Gillian talks about why she wanted to become a Trustee with OCAY and what she has learnt so far:

“I became a Trustee of OCAY in March 2020, attended my first board meeting on 11th March and almost immediately the world changed as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic started to be felt. It is not quite the experience I was imagining when I applied for the role!

Why did I apply for the role? I’m in a fortunate position to be semi-retired so I have the time to commit to doing things other than paid work. I also have a low boredom threashold, so there was no chance of me just sitting back and putting my feet up. Looking for a Trustee role seemed a good opportunity to use my skills, contribute to something worthwhile and to challenge myself.

I applied to OCAY for a number of reasons. I am passionate about people having their voices heard: one of the other things I do is coach people in public speaking to help them get their voices heard. As a member of the OCAY client demographic it drives me nuts when people treat older citizens as deaf, stupid and/or inept. Or even worse, treats older women as invisible: something I see quite regularly with one of my hobbies.

I’ve learned a lot since my first, slightly shell-shocked month as a trustee. I’ve learned more about the issues clients want our help with. I’ve learned more about being a Trustee, although I still feel like a newbie. I’ve engaged with other charities at on-line conferences to find out how other charities have ridden the pandemic (we’re doing pretty well in comparison). And, best of all, I’ve met some brilliant, interesting people – volunteers, staff and other Trustees – who are committed to giving the older people of York help and support.

Oh, and the hobby that gives me the superpower of invisibility? Being a classic car mechanic! People asking about the cars assume I’m the person tagging along and talk mechanics to my partner: always fun to watch their faces when he refers them to me.”