Like so many charities and not for profit organisations across the country, The Hebron Trust is dependent on its Trustees to make sure that we operate in the interests of the women we are committed to supporting, as well as strategically overseeing the management and administration of the charity. So we are catching up with our fabulous Trustees, who so generously give of their time to support us, to find out a little bit more about what motivates them.
In this blog, we catch up with Steve Whitby…
How long have you been a Trustee?
I’ve been associated with Hebron for 17 years although I did not become a Trustee until a year or so later
How did you first hear about Hebron?
I applied for a paid job. They decided I wasn’t good enough for that but they wrote and offered me an unpaid one. I thought the letter was just cheeky enough so I accepted.
What were your first impressions when you visited?
Initially I felt the house and the organisation seemed a little tired and didn’t seem to know where it was going. which was unfortunate because the staff commitment and work being done was tremendous. To their credit, the charity has changed greatly since then and seems to me (and I could be biased!) to have a greater sense of purpose and a firm understanding of where we are now and what is needed.
What about Hebron are you most proud of?
You only have to listen to the testimony of a woman we have helped to become emotional. I am honoured to have been involved in a small way.
When describing Hebron House to people who haven’t heard of it what messages are you keen to get across?
The fact that we help to turn lives around using a holistic approach – not just treating symptoms but training to cope with the future and training in life skills. This is all done in a caring, welcoming environment
Hebron is a charity. How does it fundraise and has it been impacted by the current pandemic?
Residents are usually referred via local authorities who offer funding. Given the holistic approach that Hebron offer the sums paid by local authorities fall short of meeting our costs by around £250-£300 per resident per week. This extra funding (approx £100k per annum) has to be found from grant-making trusts and other voluntary giving which can be challenging as much of our voluntary giving is one off donations. If we could get more regular monthly giving this would greatly reduce our uncertainty (and my anxiety at certain times!). We have been extremely fortunate during the Covid-19 pandemic. It never entered the House so we have been able to remain open, albeit with less residents, for most of the last 15 months. The furlough scheme has helped our finances greatly and we have also been fortunate to receive a couple of large donations which have lessened the monetary effect of Covid-19. We prepared budgets to help us manage through the pandemic but, fortunately, we are in a better financial position than we budgeted for. It probably isn’t part of the answer to your question but the help and flexibility of the staff as we have faced the crisis together has been a great help and the Trustees are grateful for all their efforts.
What expertise do you bring to the Board of Trustees?
Having worked as a Finance Director and Chief Operating Officer in the Third Sector for 10 years I suppose my role as Treasurer was both sensible and inevitable. But I like to think I also offer sensible, pragmatic solutions and I temper my business background with a realisation that the main purpose of the charity is to help turn round the lives of vulnerable women
If you only had three words to describe Hebron House and the work it does what would they be?
Caring. Dedicated. Amazing.