Volunteering as a charity trustee at Peeps
Trustees week takes place between 6-10 November and is a time to celebrate the achievements of nearly one million trustees across the UK. I've been a trustee of Peeps for more than three years.
What does Peeps do?
Peeps is the only UK charity dedicated to supporting those with HIE (Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy). HIE is caused by a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain. It can occur before, during, or shortly after birth. The severity of this can vary greatly and is graded from grade one which is mild to grade three which is severe. HIE events are often unexpected and can be very traumatic for families affected.
Peeps was set up in 2018 to support families across the UK who are affected by HIE. This is done via providing parent packs to neonatal intensive care units, peer support, funding for equipment, and counselling and signposting to other charities and support groups.
I applied to be a trustee in February 2020 and was appointed to the Board of Trustees for a two-year term from 1 May 2020. I was appointed as Chair of the Trustees shortly afterwards. I was reappointed for a second two-year term in April 2022.
I'd not been a charity trustee previously but, as a medical negligence solicitor, I've worked with families affected by brain injury for 20 years. I wanted to use that experience and knowledge to support others outside my day job, as I know that families can feel very isolated after an HIE event and Peeps can provide much needed support, funding for equipment and counselling.
As trustees of Peeps we meet usually every six weeks via Zoom or MS Teams. In between meetings I am in contact with the other trustees either by email or phone to discuss issues as and when they arise. This makes it easy to deal with anything that crops up and ensures we can make quick decisions.
As time has gone on and the charity has grown, I've spent more time supporting Peeps which is something I greatly enjoy. Most recently I've been involved in interviewing for new trustees as we took the decision to expand the number as the charity has grown. It's been great to be a part of this process. I've also supported Peeps at the Kidz to Adultz event in Manchester and it was great to talk to so many people about the work that Peeps does.
Supporting Peeps as a charity trustee has been and continues to be a hugely rewarding role for me and it is different from my day job as a medical negligence solicitor representing children and adults with injuries.
I would recommend volunteering as a trustee to anyone. Charities need trustees who will share the responsibility for running the charity. I am fortunate that some of the time I spend can come from the 14 hours volunteering hours which Irwin Mitchell gives to all staff. Irwin Mitchell are keen that everyone uses these hours during the year to support different charitable and pro bono organisations.
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell’s expertise in supporting those affected by HIE and other birth injuries at our dedicated medical negligence section.