Interview with Liz Olive, Active 8 www.active8online.org
Active 8 works with young people in Cornwall, between 15 - 25 years old, with physical disabilities. It has been running since 1990 and was awarded charity status in 1998.
We have a turnover of between £50,000 and £85,000 per annum and run four projects with the money we raise.
What prompted the charity to sign up to the ICAEW volunteering website?
Having been without a treasurer for nearly 2 years and having 3 failed attempts to take someone on, it was suggested to us.
Which role were you looking for to help with the charity?
Trustee and honorary treasurer.
How quickly was the role filled and did you have many applicants?
Once the advert went up on the website, we had three enquiries within 48 hours! That sort of thing just does not happen in Cornwall!
I rang them all. One lived in Plymouth, which is 50 miles from where we hold trustee meetings, and we agreed it was too far away. One told me all about how difficult the charity was that he was working with already. And then there was Mike Mansfield. He had experience with youth charities already and sounded really interested, and enthusiastic.
What does the volunteer do for the charity?
In the first three months, he encouraged our very unconfident volunteer bookkeeper and helped him to pull the annual accounts together for inspection. With our manager, he worked out project budgets so that in future we’ll know what we’ve spent and what we have left, which will make a huge difference to the way we work.
He took on our frustratingly complex online banking service and set it up so we can now pay bills in under a week (at last!). He engaged our trustees in the process and helped us learn how to use it.
Above and beyond that, he showed up at the beach to meet all the young people on the first weekend he could. And he hasn’t really stopped since!
Has the volunteer helped the charity to do anything differently or achieve something they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to?
He’s made it possible to plan and work a whole lot more effectively.
For anyone thinking of signing up to icaewvolunteers.com, what do you think it can offer them?
Easy access to people with the skills they need, who want to get involved. Over our two years without a Treasurer, I must have asked every accountant or bookkeeper I ever knew, but they weren’t up for doing something new in their spare time. It helped us find the person who was, and had the skills our charity needed.