Trustee, Keith Grehan talks about the privilege of being a custodian of our charity's long legacy
Why did you want to be a charity trustee with Field Lane?
After spending two decades running and helping build successful teams and businesses in the financial services and technology sectors, I co-founded Novacies Capital with the aim of helping companies in their growth journeys. On the charity front, I wanted to offer this experience to organisations in the not-for-profit sector, where I believed I could offer the most meaningful impact (nothing close to the work that the staff of these charities do, but the most value I felt I could provide). I was first attracted to Field Lane by its history. In existence since 1841, it is a charity with solid foundations, one that has been able to adapt and expand over the years but without losing sight of its core focus or its Christian message about caring for the wider community and providing help to those who need it the most. It is an organisation that has helped people for over 160 years, from the children of The Ragged School in Charles Dickens’ time to the amazing work that it does with young adults today. It is a charity whose values and foundations have built an organisation to last. As such, it was a privilege for me to be asked to join the Field Lane board as a trustee, and a custodian to this organisation’s great legacy, for the time I serve it.
What has surprised you most?
The very tangible sense of family and purpose. From the individual staff members to the wider management of the organisation, there is a strong sense of ownership and responsibility for each of our clients. There is a very loyal and stable staff base, that shows great commitment all of the time. This speaks volumes about the quality of the organisation and the worthiness of the cause for which we all work.
What do you wish other people knew?
When I first learned about Field Lane, I was impressed by how the charity had been able to reinvent itself, continually adapting and evolving. Field Lane has always sought to identify the best, most appropriate cause to devote its time and resources. This renewal and regrowth go to the heart of our Christian heritage. At its core is the charity’s devotion to its main purpose and mission, whether that be working with children or the elderly – as we did in the past – or adults with learning disabilities and vulnerable families – as we do now, today. Delivery of our mission depends on the dedication of our staff, who are incredible, especially over this past year when they have gone above and beyond, valiantly supporting and caring for our clients through these unprecedented times.
What is your hope for the future?
I would like to see Field Lane continue to grow and expand to other parts of the UK, beyond the southeast, offering the same excellent service in many other regions. This obviously needs to be tempered by that growth being sustainable and not for its own sake. I hope that Field Lane will continue to focus on what it does well, not only during my time here but after I have left – our strong culture, our top-quality client care – and to keep the focus on our core principles. We must never lose sight of the dedication of our staff, our most important asset. We have a great business model, led by a great management team, to share with the wider social care sector. I hope these times have shown how the professionals in the care sectors, who have shown great devotion when we needed them the most, should be respected and properly rewarded. Both the government and the private sector need to work together to provide properly funded, sustainable social care, and to prioritise people over profit.