I joined the Board in November 2014, responding to an advert on Reach for a trustee who could be involved with communications and marketing issues.
I thought my experience in working for Volunteering England and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) could be useful, and that volunteering with the Volunteer Centre would be a good way of feeling my skills and knowledge were worth having.
I was very involved in community action and volunteering in Kensington and Chelsea in the 1970s and 1980s. I was one of the founders, and later Chair, of Westway Nursery Association, which created Maxilla Nursery Centre and then helped set up and support new services for under-fives and their families in the borough.
From there, I became involved in – probably too many – other committees in community organisations and schools, including being an elected community rep on the North Kensington Amenity Trust, now Westway Trust.
In my employment then I was a journalist and a social researcher, and my experience in community action inspired me to develop research and teaching in voluntary organisations and volunteering at University of East London.
With the predecessor to Volunteering England, I assisted in forming the Institute for Volunteering Research. Through UEL and IVR, I worked on research projects evaluating government policies and voluntary organisations’ programmes, exploring voluntary action in faith groups and women’s organisations, and developing service-user involvement.
In 2008 I ws appointed Director of Public Affairs for Volunteering England, leading on policy, communications and information, and collaborating on the Games Maker programme for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. After its merger with NCVO, I became Head of Volunteering Development, focussing on developing good practice in volunteer management and influencing national policy.
I left in summer 2014 to focus on my own writing and independent work, and to spend more time on volunteering. As a volunteer now, I am a trustee with PIP (Pursuing Independent Paths) and a helper with Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre.