Jackie Pountney was elected as Chair of CASBA at our last AGM. We wanted to find out more about her, as she leads the board of Trustees through a period of change.
What made you decide to become a Trustee at CASBA?
I have known CASBA for quite a few years through the charity that I used to work for. When I retired I decided that I wanted to volunteer with an organisation that supported people with learning disabilities, but I hadn’t got round to doing anything about it. Then by chance I bumped into one of the staff members, who said that CASBA was looking for Trustees. I came along to meet with the Chief Executive and that was that!
Is there anything that’s surprised you from what you’ve learnt since being involved with CASBA?
Yes, I’ve been surprised at how adaptable people are! The first Trustee meeting I went to was on the day of the first lockdown, and I don’t think anyone knew then how CASBA would be able to carry on doing its work. But in just a few weeks the Ambassadors, Staff and Trustees had learned to use Zoom and Whatsapp to keep in touch, and to hold meetings. So although people couldn’t meet face to face there was still a real sense of community and people looking out for each other.
How are you feeling about being Chair of CASBA over the next year?
It’s a real privilege to be Chair of an organisation that does such good work, and that has such an excellent reputation. Its also a huge responsibility, because CASBA is going through quite a lot of change at the moment. So far myself and fellow Trustees have been involved in recruiting a new Chief Executive, and three new Trustees. I think we have recruited skilled people who will be able to help us take CASBA forward. I’m also excited about the new projects that CASBA will be running in 2022, which I’m sure will make a real difference to the lives of people with learning disabilities. I’m also looking forward to working with everyone to make sure that the Ambassadors and other CASBA service users have even more of a say in what CASBA does and how it is run
What would your message be to anyone else thinking of volunteering for CASBA?
I would say go for it! There are a number of ways in which you can volunteer so have a look and see if there is something that suits you, your skills and the amount of time you can offer. As well as being able to use your skills for CASBA, you will get to meet some lovely people, and will learn new things yourself along the way.