Welcome! This page has information about becoming a member of REAP’s Board of Trustees, including some frequently asked questions. If you are interested in joining our Board, please don’t hesitate to get in touch to arrange an informal chat with existing Board members and staff. Call 01542 888070 (Mon – Thurs 9.30am to 5pm) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We can also give you a Trustees’ pack with detailed information about becoming a Scottish charity Trustee and more information about REAP as an organisation.
You don’t need any specific skills or experience to join the Board, just an interest in REAP’s work. To find out more about that, read on, have a look at our advert, and explore the website or give us a call for an informal chat.
If you’ve never been a Trustee, our current Board members and staff will support you. If you’re a seasoned Trustee, we will be glad to have the benefit of your experience. Being on a Board is rewarding, makes a little bit of your time go a long way, and is useful experience. REAP’s Board members must be 18 years or older.
- What is REAP and what does it do?
- What is a Board and why does a charity need one?
- What does the Board actually do? What will my responsibilities be? How much time will it take?
- What skills or experience do I need?
- Who will support me when I join the Board?
- I’m interested but I’d need a taxi, babysitter or something else… how can REAP help?
- I still need convincing – what’s in it for me?
What is REAP and what does it do?
REAP is a local, environmental charity, based in Keith and operating throughout Moray. We are an independent charity, not a branch of a bigger charity. REAP has done various types of community and environmental work over the last 20+ years but our focus has always been on helping individuals and communities find solutions.
At the moment we have two broad strands of work:
- Food and growing – helping people grow and eat more of their own food, compost more, take part in therapeutic gardening and environmental improvement, get outside more and cut their carbon footprint.
- Energy saving advice – helping people with switching tariffs, cutting their bills through energy saving behaviours, advising on availability of grants and loans, helping people find the help they are eligible for and training volunteers to be energy champions who can support their friends and neighbours to save energy and save money.
Currently, almost all of our work is funded by organisations like Comic Relief, the Climate Challenge Fund, The People’s Health Trust, Energy Actions Scotland and others. We also undertake paid work including research and community consultation, and administering two local windfarm community benefit funds.
What is a Board and why does a charity need one?
Every charity in Scotland is run by a group of Trustees. In a simple charity, the Trustees may be committee members – the Treasurer, Secretary and Chair for example. If a charity employs people or owns land or property, the charity needs to have a different structure and will usually register as a company. REAP is a company limited by guarantee. This means our Trustees are also Directors of our company – this is why our Trustees must be 18 years or older. A charity needs a Board to make sure it stays on track with its aims, is running effectively, and fulfils all the obligations a charity has to the public, its funders and the charity regulator.
What does the REAP Board actually do? What will my responsibilities be? How much time will it take up?
The Charity regulator OSCR has detailed information about the responsibilities of Scottish Charity Trustees but please remember, if you are new to this, we’ll take you through it gradually and make sure you are happy and well informed before signing you up as a Trustee. We include OSCR’s ‘Guidance for Trustees’ in our Trustee pack so you can refer to it any time.
REAP is an experienced charity and in many ways runs like any other business, with formal staff management, robust policies and procedures, regular training, proper insurance and a good knowledge of following relevant laws and where to get advice. Not all Board members need to be directly involved in day-to-day work, but all of them are kept up to date. Some Trustees come to the office more often than others, depending on their area of interest. What you do will depend on your choices and availability.
Board meetings are held every 6 weeks at a time that best suits Board members. Meetings typically last about an hour and a half. Meetings are effective and well chaired but they are not full of jargon or high pressure decisions! The Board get on well with each other and will make you welcome. The Board and manager sit down with a cuppa and go through everything on the agenda. Anyone can raise questions, say if they haven’t understood something, ask for more information, make suggestions or challenge ideas. The business of running a Charity is important and serious, but we find it works best when meetings are open and friendly. Our Board also enjoys having a member of staff along from time to time, to give a short talk about their work, as their enthusiasm is infectious and inspiring!
What skills or experience do I need?
We are actively seeking Board members and we need you! You don’t need any specific skills or experience but do need to be interested in REAP’s work – raising awareness of environmental issues and tackling economic inequality. See our Board advert for more details. Boards are most effective when they are made up of a good mix of people so all you need to bring is your unique point of view.
Who will support me when I join the Board?
Other Board members will support you. They were all new to REAP at one point so know how you feel. If you are new to being a Charity Trustee, you can pick a mentor from the Board and arrange to meet away from Board meetings or talk informally as you need. The Manager will also support you and answer and questions you might have. There are also independent sources of advice or information you can call on.
I’m interested but I’d need a taxi, babysitter or something else… how can REAP help?
REAP is committed to equality and pays out of pocket expenses to all Board members. We ask Board members to submit a mileage claim or travel expense for each and every meeting or event they attend. We can also provide expenses for childcare. Other expenses may be available, just ask. We also aim to meet at times and locations that suit everyone so will be flexible according to your needs.
I still need convincing – what’s in it for me?
There are many reasons people become Charity Trustees. If you are interested in the kind of work we do, it’s a very effective way to support it and to influence it. There’s also the feelgood factor of doing something for your community, of seeing or hearing about smiling faces, lightbulb moments, letters of thanks, paintings of compost bins from primary school kids or happy tears of relief when a new boiler is installed. There’s the social aspect of working with like-minded people and opportunities to go to events or meetings to see the work in action, or roll your sleeves up and get stuck in. Volunteering looks good on your CV and provides experience in business and charity work. It does good, and it does you good.
Our Chair, Elizabeth sums it up: “You get more out of it than you put in.”