Paying trustees will “undermine our sector’s values”, a former chief executive of Navca warned an audience of charity sector leaders last night.
Kevin Curley, the former chief executive of Navca and chair of Community Action Derby, the council for voluntary service in his home town, told guests at the Charity Awards that voluntary action was at the heart of the sector and urged them to resist calls for more trustees to be paid.
Curley was speaking after receiving the Daniel Phelan Award for Outstanding Achievement, which is given to an individual with a long record of work in the sector and influence on its direction and vision.
“Trustees are volunteers who take responsibility for the governance of charities,“he told the audience. “The fact that we are unpaid makes us different from local councillors, non-execs on public bodies and company directors.
“If your charity cannot attract trustees with the right attitudes and skills, paying them is not going to solve the problem. Paying trustees will undermine our sector’s values and the altruism at the heart of voluntary action. I hope you will resist it.”
Protect local infrastructure
Curley also spoke about the need to support local charity infrastructure, saying that charities such as Community Action Derby are having “a tough time right now” and had closed in many places, but that they were necessary for the local charity sector to thrive.
“The impulse to get involved and help others is a strong one in some people,” he said. “Let’s celebrate that. Years ago Richard Titmuss, writing about blood donating, called it ‘The Gift Relationship’. A beautiful phrase.
“But the passion to change things for the better needs cherishing and supporting so that the goodwill and the energy of volunteers is not wasted.
“That’s why local support charities like York CVS and Community Action Derby are so vital.
"So, if you agree with me, wherever you live and work, engage with your local CVS and help it to thrive. Because without it, local voluntary action and local volunteering cannot thrive.”