I am very lucky that Solaris Health supports my role as a trustee for Thames Valley Air Ambulance and encourages me to participate in working with this life-saving charity. I took up this role in 2014, prior to joining Solaris Health, and wanted to continue to support this amazing charity.
Why Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA)?
I had previously worked on the rebranding of the London Air Ambulance and gained a good insight into the vital role that the air ambulance services provide. Applying to be a trustee was like applying for any senior role; it’s quite competitive, so there were interviews and meetings with the other trustees and the chairman to explore my relevant experience and skills set – in other words what would I bring to the party? Coming from a global brand development background, I was able to offer skills around brand development, marketing and promotion.
TVAA brings the hospital to you - but what does that really mean? With a doctor and paramedic on-board the helicopter and a critical care car, they bring the skills and expertise of a hospital to the scene of an incident. The pilots, paramedics and doctors work together as a team, along with other emergency services to deliver the best care for patients. They carry state of the art equipment with them, which means they can perform critical medical procedures prior to the patient arriving at hospital. The crew can relieve pain, straighten broken limbs, and deliver emergency anaesthesia among a long list of vital medical care.
My fellow trustees come from a range of backgrounds but are all highly regarded experts in their fields. Being able to work alongside and learn from them, and from the charity staff and volunteers, is an inspiring experience. The volunteers are an amazing group of people, passionately supporting and fundraising for the charity. Being part of both the Board and Fundraising and Engagement Committee allows me to continue my strategic brand development work in a different area, all of which is valuable for my own development and for my work at Solaris health.
Why become a Trustee?
There are currently about 168,000 charities registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Trustees are ultimately responsible for everything a charity does and can be held accountable for the decisions they make. Therefore trustees are encouraged to undertake relevant training to ensure that we remain up to speed with current legislation.
Personally, working in the health arena, being involved in a charity in a related field is interesting, and as a horse rider I am only too aware of possible scenarios where I might be in need of urgent and expert medical assistance. I think it’s important to get to know the organisation before you accept a role, and explore whether your values and expectations are aligned.
I gain an immense amount of satisfaction from working with TVAA and feel very proud of the incredible work that the charity does, especially as it moves forward with a new operating model as an independent medical organisation, employing medics directly and taking full responsibility for clinical governance to ensure TVAA remains at the forefront of saving lives.