In conversation with Tor Evan: Tips to make young trusteeship meaningful

Practical tips for how organisations can recruit young trustees in a meaningful way

The Roundhouse has been a leading voice in the push to recruit young trustees. They are trailblazers who have had young trustees for over a decade and even created a guide to youth governance in collaboration with the Arts Council.

In our latest podcast, we speak with Tor Evans, the senior external relations manager for the Roundhouse who also sits on the Young Trustee Movement advisory board. Tor shares some practical tips for how organisations can recruit young trustees in a meaningful way.

Listen to the full podcast below.

Why have you joined the Young Trustees Movement?

“The Young Trustees Movement is really important to us at the Roundhouse. We work with so many young people every year who have incredible skills to offer and a voice that really needs a platform in the decision-making arena. What we’re finding is, it’s the organisations that are slow to change. We really want to be part of that drive to push organisations to change, to make sure there are more opportunities for young people.

Many people know the Roundhouse as an amazing venue in Camden to see your favourite artists. But actually, what many people don’t know is that we’re also a charity and each year we support 6,000 young people through creative projects.

We run the Roundhouse Youth Advisory Board, and two young people from this board also sit on our main board of trustees to make sure that every decision that we are making as an organisation has the youth voice reflected in it.

They come with so many skills, knowledge, and experiences that really help to build resilience in organisations. In the past one of our Young Trustees encouraged more gendered intelligence training, which then led onto us ensuring we had gender-neutral toilets and we were one of the first venues to do that.”

How can people get the rest of their board on-board?

  1. Have a board away day to go through challenges you may face and the reasons for why you want young people on the board. It’s important that it’s not just one person driving it forward and it’s collective.
  2. Highlight that having young trustees makes the board more resilient. The questions that we get from young people, the different mindset and backgrounds that you get really challenges some of the thinking that you can sometimes expect around a board table.
  3. Explain that there is an element of opportunity for young people. It’s a platform for them to network, to meet other people, to develop their own skills as well as offering something to the board.”

How do you recruit Young Trustees?

  1. Establish a youth board which could act as a stepping stone before recruiting young trustees. We’ve got the Roundhouse Youth Advisory Board and that’s generally the feeder for our young trustees.
  2. Approach local youth organisations to see if they have young people interested in the opportunity.”

Once you’ve got your Young Trustees, how do you make sure it’s meaningful?

  1. Get the whole board on board! Make sure that it’s not being driven by just one person.
  2. There are simple things you can do to make the experience more inclusive before the young people join. Make sure you have at least two young people on the board so they have a support network.
  3. Ensure that they meet with a senior management team. Get each head of department to update them on what it means when they talk about marketing or development, including the terminology they use.
  4. We provide our young trustees with the first slot on the agenda. In meetings, we ensure they’re in people’s sightline to ensure they are always included in the conversation.

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