In 2016 I joined Vision 21 as a trustee. Vision 21 is a very small local Cheltenham charity that has been operating for 25 years. At the time I joined, their best-known project was the Reclaim furniture warehouse at Lansdown, keeping furniture out of landfill and providing work opportunities for hard-to-place individuals. The six years I have been a trustee have been really exciting. During that time, sustainability has broken into the mainstream conversation. We now run Planet Cheltenham, helping individuals live more sustainably, and partner with the Council on CheltZero (which is more business focused). Local companies can find out more about CheltZero on their website.
The following year, I added to my responsibilities by becoming a trustee of Severn Wye Energy Agency. Severn Wye is a larger charity operating predominately across Gloucestershire and Wales. Our focus is both sustainability and fuel poverty. The last year and the cost-of-living crisis has really brought into focus the importance of that work. Enabling people to access the funding options to keep warm through winter is such valuable work, and something I am proud to support.
I find volunteering really satisfying. My area of legal specialism means that I can give useful support to both charities on the day-to-day challenges and give insight into broader trends and issues. I work in a team where many of us are involved in charitable causes, and I am proud that we all support each other to work in a flexible way that gives us the freedom to do so.