An interview with a belong trustee

Belong has 14 dedicated trustees, all volunteers who hold Belong ‘in trust’ for current and future beneficiaries, provide oversight of Belong’s work, contribute to strategic growth, financial controls and risk management…. but what does that really mean? And who are Belong’s trustees?

In this blog, we hear from Belong’s Treasurer, who talks to Belong’s Head of Development about his role as a treasurer trustee, tells why he wanted to become a trustee, and gives some advice for anyone wanting to take on a trusteeship.

Q: Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. Can you start by telling me a little bit about yourself?

I’m married, I’ve got three children and when not working, I spend most of my time ferrying my children around from place to place! They do a lot of activities… and I’m often just stood in a freezing field watch my son stagger through a football match or watching my daughter in a play.

I like running – I’ve done 4 marathons and try to run down by the river when I can. I’m a big reader and read quite widely across both fiction and non-fiction.  

I’m one of five children – it’s a big family. I was born in Birmingham and am still quite close to my brothers and sisters and enjoy seeing my wider family when we are able.

I originally wanted to go into academia, but like many, I ended up finding a job in London to make ends meet. I originally qualified as an accountant. I then went into investment management and have been a fund manager for 20 years now. A lot of what we do is related to psychology – we have to try to understand how and why people behave in certain ways and how cognitive biases create behavioural patterns in markets. I’ve always enjoyed the challenge and the people and have been at the same firm for 17 years.

Aside from that, I also love a pub quiz!

Q: What made you want to become a trustee?

While I enjoy my day job, I decided I wanted to spend some time more directly in an area which was more focused on helping people and contributing something useful to society. 

I’ve also been positively influenced by some of the work of various family members in charities, schools and government.    

Being a trustee for Belong seemed like a really interesting opportunity.   The treasurer role was appealing because I’m not an expert in the criminal justice system, but I do have a good understanding of finance and this enabled me to use some of my professional skills in the charity sector.

I love the people I have been lucky to meet at Belong – bright and engaged individuals doing lots of valuable work.

“When I applied, I read the available reports on Belong and met Esther, belong’s ceo, who is incredibly inspiring, and it all added up for me.”

 It was my first trusteeship – I’ve participated in various charity partnership opportunities through my employer, but wanted to make a longer term commitment to a specific area. I’ve found it really rewarding.

Q: What made you want to become a trustee with Belong specifically?

The relevance to mental health was a key factor and something which has personal importance to me. I have also always been interested in both psychology and the criminal justice system, so there is a lot about the role with Belong that gels with me. 

“There are many people without voices within the Criminal Justice System”.  

 I can see that Belong might be a charity that isn’t massively fashionable- “who do you hear out there advocating for the people we are trying to help?”   But I think this makes it all the more important to get involved.    Trying to understand and address the causes and individual reasons for violent behaviour seems to me to be a really critical process in trying to improve outcomes for both victims and perpetrators. 

“I’m not a huge believer in punishment as a solution, I’m a believer in rehabilitation. That’s one of the things that influenced me”.

 Q: Can you tell me a bit about your role as a Treasurer with Belong and as a trustee?

As a trustee, we have oversight of the charity’s activities, and aim to ensure that what Belong is doing is consistent with the charity’s strategic goals and aims and with our regulatory obligations. This involves attending board meetings, voting on key decisions for the charity and ensuring everything we’re doing is in line with our agreed goals and policies. 

I’m also one of Belong’s treasurers.  In order to survive and continue, the charity needs to have sound finances. We aim to maintain an appropriate reserves policy, so if we were to lose a source of income, for example, we are able to continue to meet our liabilities, and continue to deliver on our goals for all of our stakeholders.  Treasurers will often focus on reviewing cash flows and management accounts, as well as the preparation and presentation of annual accounts, so that our funders can rely on us. As we grow, that becomes even more important.

Another part of a treasurer’s role is looking at our funding sources and ensuring that we are sufficiently diversified, as well as identifying any risks around future income streams.

I also co-chair the fundraising and finance committee, a subcommittee which sits separately from the trustee meetings.

 Q: What do you enjoy about being a trustee?

Definitely the people.   Belong is a great community and it is certainly rewarding to meet the staff, volunteers and other trustees. I meet loads of people from different areas, people I wouldn’t necessarily meet in my normal day-to-day job.  Esther is very impressive, and hearing from her in each of the meetings and hearing how she runs the charity is really engaging.  

“I also love learning – it’s an area I didn’t know a great deal about before. You have to keep learning and growing in life”.


 Q: What kinds of challenges do you face as a trustee with Belong?

 Getting up to speed on the criminal justice system has been a challenge. It isn’t an area I had experience in before. Also, getting to grips with the way we obtain our funding – for example restricted and unrestricted funding, and working out how that all comes together.

Trying to find the time to get everything done can also be challenging. It’s a big commitment being a trustee and treasurer and it’s important to give everything the time it deserves. 

Another challenge is providing the right level of support to the team. It’s a balance in making sure that we are providing oversight, supporting the team and charity’s activities, but not micromanaging.

Covid also brought its own challenges. I joined in 2019, and we went straight into Covid. It was a challenge not being able to meet face to face through Covid, but we met regularly online. I’m hoping to also visit one of the prison sites we deliver in soon too.

Q: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying to become a trustee of a charity?

Do it! Think about what area that you are interested in, and don’t take it lightly. Think about if you can commit the hours you need to for the specific role. Charities want stability, so be prepared to commit to it for the long term.  

Think about what skillset you have that you can bring that might be useful for that particular trusteeship and think about how you might slot into it.  You certainly don’t have to be an expert in everything – you can’t be – but think about where you might have some focus in whatever the role is. Importantly, be willing to engage and learn!    


Since publication, Belong’s Treasurer has also become The Chair of Finance and Fundraising Committee. 

To find out more about Belong’s trustees, visit: If you would like to enquire about becoming a trustee, get in touch by emailing