Parent organisation of Community Links, Foundation and Bridging the Gap

Trustees’ Week 2022

Trustees’ Week
7th-11th November 2022

It is Trustees’ Week!

According to NCVO  Trustees’ Week is now in its 12th year and is a great opportunity to come together to celebrate and honour the achievements of charity trustees throughout the UK.

The theme this year is ‘making a difference in changing times’. The dedication and support of trustees to charities is invaluable and can help to benefit society as we continue to move through these uncertain times and new challenges.

At Inspire North our Board of Trustees reflect the diverse communities we serve, bringing their unique experiences and expertise to the table to support us in all that we are doing to create a world where everyone matters.

As a board, the trustees share a common purpose and are responsible for setting the strategic direction and ensuring the effective governance of Inspire North. Trustees help to ensure we meet our vision and purpose. All trustees have a passion and commitment to drive us forward with our ambition to become an anti-racist organisation.

Ahead of Trustees’ Week, we caught up with some of our current trustees to hear about their experiences as Trustees.

We spoke to Claire Vilarrubi, our Chair of Trustees. Claire has more than 20 years’ experience working in criminal justice and now teaches a psychology programme at Leeds Trinity University.

What inspired you to become a Trustee at Inspire North and when did you start?

I originally joined the board for Foundation in 2012. I then joined Inspire North as Chair when the organisation was created in 2018. I am passionate about challenging inequality and empowering people to succeed. I worked with Foundation whilst I was Governor at HMP Leeds and was impressed by their dedication, enthusiasm, and commitment– the service they provided for the men in prison and on release was much needed and valued. So, when an opportunity to join the Foundation Board arose, I jumped at it. The creation of Inspire North has been a fantastic step forward bringing together two wonderful organisations. Inspire North’s values strongly resonate with my own personal values.

Can you tell us about your time as a Trustee at Inspire North/ any highlights that stand out to you?

It’s really hard to answer this as there have been so many highlights. Obviously, overseeing the merger is a ‘stand out’ moment – the complexities of bringing together two varied, large organisations wasn’t without its challenges! But it’s fantastic to see how far we’ve come in a short space of time. I’m also proud of Inspire North’s commitment to become an anti-racist organisation – it’s only the beginning of our journey but I am committed to ensuring the Board leads Inspire North in taking a proactive approach in dismantling racism at all levels.

How have you brought your personal expertise and experience to the role?

I worked in the Prison Service for 20 years, first as a Forensic Psychologist and then as Governor. During this time, I worked in several prisons working with women, adult men, and young people with a range of complex needs. Now, I lead the MSc Applied Custodial Leadership Programme at Leeds Trinity University which is part of the Unlocked Graduates Leadership Programme. I believe my professional practice informs my role as a Trustee in several ways. First, it has given me an invaluable insight to the issues and challenges our clients and service users experience. Secondly, I strongly recognise the need to ensure that staff have the appropriate support, training, and recognition to thrive. Finally, my leadership experience enables me to support with the CEO and SLT in setting the strategic direction for Inspire North so that we can achieve our aims.

What advice would you give to an individual who was wanting to become a Trustee at Inspire North?

Go for it! It’s an absolute pleasure and privilege to be a Trustee for Inspire North. I also feel like I learn so much from being a trustee. I know I speak for all Inspire North Trustees when I say that visiting services and teams is an absolute highlight and reminds us why we are so passionate about this great organisation. It is vital that our Board comprises of trustees from diverse backgrounds and different experiences and skills. If you think you could contribute, please do get in touch with either myself or our CEO Ruth Kettle.

We also caught up with Vijay Assani, who will be joining Inspire North as a new trustee later this year. Vijay wanted to share the positive experience he has already had with Inspire North.

What inspired you to become a Trustee at Inspire North?

I was attracted to Inspire North because of the remarkable work it conducts with the most disadvantaged members of society. Providing housing opportunities and solutions is one of the most significant ways to assist individuals in regaining their life, confidence, and independence.

How will you bring your personal expertise and experience to the role?

My aim is to bring my experiences in change & transformation programmes, my empathy from dealing with disadvantaged families and children, and my enthusiasm for the not-for-profit sector.

What advice would you give to an individual who was wanting to become a Trustee at Inspire North?

I can guarantee anybody contemplating joining Inspire North as a Trustee or in any other capacity that they would be welcomed with open arms. This is a well-run team with exceptional individuals.


If you feel inspired to learn more about becoming a Trustee at Inspire North, you can visit our Careers Page. 

Alternatively, if you have a passion about our society and want to give something back but are looking to gain more experience and skills around becoming a Board member first, you may be interested in the Boardroom Apprentice.

This is a 12-month unique board learning, development and placement programme which enables those who would like to serve on a public or third sector board. You can learn and gain experience before taking that step.

According to the Boardroom Apprentice, this scheme is ‘about delivering diversity, creating change and achieving aspirations.’

The scheme is open to all ages (above 16), all backgrounds and all abilities.

If you are wanting to bridge the gap between your aspirations to be on a Board and the reality of becoming a Trustee, then this apprenticeship may just be the right fit for you.

Stay tuned for further details and we will keep you posted when applications are open again!