Bright Future a result of Trustee connections

By Sported |  9 November 2023

The strong leadership put in place by a community group in Rhyl has been held up as a model to follow as Sported launches the Wales Strategic Volunteering Project to coincide with Trustees Week.

Rhyl-based Brighter Futures makes a different-making impact through a range of activities which provide support and services to young people and families as well as championing those with disabilities or who are socially isolated or experiencing multiple forms of poverty.

Set up in 2018, it was founded to bring together a wide spread of voluntary organisations in a trailblazing move that united groups who were delivering independently.

It has now, according to one of its Trustees, Shane Owen, created an environment where resources, skills and expertise are share among groups who – while offering outputs unique to one another – are connected in their drive to deliver for their local communities.

As their organisation grew, it became clear that further support was required but it is the impact of the volunteers who oversee its activities that has been key to ensuring it is set up to deliver local solutions, driven by local champions.

“The initial priority for us was to find Trustees who were well connected and embedded in our community,” said Owen, the lead responsible for helping the group discover dedicated and impact driven trustees.

“It was important we set out an initial development plan, identifying our strengths and weaknesses, clarifying our vison, mission and values, identifying our own learning needs and setting out clear milestones for our future.”

“At the same time, it was important we were paying particular attention to remaining grounded and led by our community, trying to ensure a decent balance between good governance, and the need for minimal bureaucracy that would enable to us remain flexible and responsive to rapid changes.”

The success of Brighter Futures and other community organisations has led Sported to create its new Wales Strategic Volunteering Project, with backing from WCVA. This sector-leading piece of research from the charity aims to gain complete insight on the help grassroots organisations require to bring in the right Trustees to help build their success.

A two-stage project driven by a coalition of key sport for development organisations, it will identify what support is needed, and then draw up plans to deliver upon the key outcomes.

“We know the importance of Trustees and supporting them, particularly when so many of our groups are volunteer-led,” said Sported’s Wales National Manager, Richard Thomas.

“The knowledge that they bring is a huge factor in keeping clubs sustainable in a way that allows them to bring numerous benefits to our communities and to our young people.

“We see that in abundance in Brighter Futures. And learning from the journey that they and others have gone through can inform not only ourselves but other organisations and branches of government in Wales and across the UK.”

The Trustee recruitment process was critical for Brighter Futures who now have a thriving Trustee group made up of seven volunteers who inject a variety of specialist knowledge into the organisation.

“What worked for us was to bring in local people who had active and existing relationships and then relying heavily on our partners within the sector to shape, develop and improve us over time,” Owen added.

And the improvement has been rapid. The groups’ facility is currently used for delivery of numerous impactful activities which build cohesion within the Rhyl community including a Men’s Shed, Women’s Shed, Youth Cafe, ASD Family Group, Parent & Toddler Group, Kidz Shed, Wicked Young Carers, Women’s Craft Group, Girls Group and a Creative Writing Group.

“It was important we weren’t being too afraid to get things wrong, but that we were open and transparent about it when it happened and ensured we then reflected, improving by integrating that experience into our future.”

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