Gaskell House Blogs

Being a Trustee at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

9th November 2020
in blog, Volunteering

2- 9 November is Trustee week so I thought it was a good time to explain the role of a trustee and share my experience of being a Trustee at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is run by a charity, Manchester Historic Buildings Trust, and is regulated by the Charity Commission.

The Charity Commission requires a board of trustees who are responsible for ensuring that the charity is run efficiently and effectively in line with the regulations and guidance.

The charity is accountable to the Friends of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. An AGM is held every year and all Friends are invited. The annual report and accounts are presented to The Friends alongside future plans and specific issues for discussion.

In addition to arranging the AGM, trustees attend bi-monthly board meetings and a number of committees depending on the special interest or skills of the trustee – the Friends committee, Management and Finance, fundraising and the Research group are some examples.

MHBT currently has 10 trustees including the chair Frank Galvin. Trustees have a wide range of skills and experience but we all have a passion for Elizabeth Gaskell and the House.

The trustees work alongside the staff and volunteers to ensure that the House is well run. Other responsibilities include appointing and supporting staff, overseeing the finances and resources and making sure the House is welcoming to visitors, all in a way that I am sure Elizabeth Gaskell would approve of.

Importantly, trustees must have strategies in place to ensure the House has a sustainable future. This involves bidding for grants and ensuring that sufficient income is generated from events, visitors, the Tea Room and gift shop.

What I enjoy most about being a trustee is being involved with the staff and volunteers in the House on public open days and events and savouring the wonderful atmosphere in the house.

It is so satisfying to be involved in planning a new development or an event and then seeing it being brought to life by the talented staff and volunteers and being enjoyed by the visitors.

Announcing that we had received the Queen’s Award for Volunteering in 2019

I have been a trustee for two years now and have enjoyed it immensely. I have learnt a great deal from my fellow trustees, some have been involved with the House for many years and were instrumental in saving the House for us all to appreciate now and in the future.

If you are interested in being a Friend of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House or joining us as a volunteer please take a look at the Friends page of the website.

We are about to recruit new trustees. If you are interested in becoming a trustee please keep an eye on the website and the House’s social media.  Elizabeth Gaskell’s House needs you!

Anne Higgins
Trustee and Board Secretary
Manchester Historic Buildings Trust

Read More about volunteering at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House
The Perks of Volunteering
The Joy of Volunteering
So long and thanks for the cake

a whispering of leaves and perfume of flowers always pervaded the rooms

Charlotte Brontë, on visiting 84 Plymouth Grove