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We recently met up with our newest trustee, Guy Stevenson, and talked to him about joining the board

Why did you choose to become a trustee with Field Lane?

I joined Field Lane as a trustee in December last year. I’m currently the CEO of another specialist learning disability charity, Balance Support, and for the past six years have been a trustee for Age UK. I was looking for another social care charity to work with. Given my experience in the social care sector I understand the challenges and can bring my skills and insights to the trustee role. Being a trustee is extremely instructive, and with Field Lane, it has given me an opportunity to learn more about sitting on the board of delivery organisation, one that mirrors Balance Support. I am seeing it from the other side of the table.

What were your first impressions?

I was pleasantly surprised by the thoroughness of the induction process for all trustees, including independent visits to the projects to meet and talk with clients and staff. The board meetings are well managed and prepared for, with clarity about decision making and good financial reporting. Learning disability charities are very much under the public radar, and Field Lane is not a major player, so building a public audience is a challenge. But the charity has worked hard to create and maintain its high-quality products, which it is proud of, and rightly so.

What is your hope for the future of Field Lane?

There is a deficit in specialist learning disability services, especially in areas of respite and transition – between services and into independent living. To grow, Field Lane could explore filling some of these gaps, either through developing a portfolio of services or building a partnership with another provider. However, I would caution against mission creep. Too many other charitable organisations have tried to move into other territories, which they were not suited for, focusing on where they believed there was revenue, but losing sight of their original mission. Field Lane’s mission is a robust one, with deep roots. Any gaps that we as a charity think we could fill in terms of service provision, should not be at the expense of our mission or our high-quality products, which have proved to be so successfully for our clients and their families.


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