Olga, Director of the Healthy Living Centre, Aylesbury

Olga is a working mum with 2 children who has recently become an unpaid director of the CIC which runs the Healthy Living Centre at Aylesbury.

What prompted you to apply to be a director of the Healthy Living Centre?  I saw an advert on Facebook. I decided to apply because I am local to the area, and indeed used to go to the Centre when my children were small. It is in an under-privileged part of Aylesbury and I am passionate about the community and giving people what they need to help them achieve their potential.

Opportunity is key to helping local residents achieve that potential, whether that is by means of learning new skills, having opportunities to socialise or more generally improving their quality of life.

How much of your time does being a director take up? I applied in late 2018 and formally became a director a few months later in April 2019. I do not have a specific area of responsibility yet and the time commitment is not that big. There are six board meetings a year and I would say I spend 2 or 3 hours every few weeks, although it may be more if there is a particular project that I am involved with.

What has your experience as a director been like so far?  I am already a school governor and it is quite similar, so I knew what to expect. There have been no surprises.

What have you found challenging? I have had to learn about various things that were new to me, such as compliance issues and GDPR, and I would like to understand funding issues better.

What difference does volunteering as a director make to you? Doing this for the Healthy Living Centre I can see what value I am adding – which would not be the case in a big organisation. I can see that money is being well spent and that the Centre is having a direct impact on people – making a positive difference to their lives.

What difference does your volunteering as a director make to others? Lots of local residents do not have cars and lack opportunities to be engaged with the community. It takes a long time to turn that situation around, but we are doing that. I have helped with initiatives to maximise the use of our space and also to get local businesses involved

Would you recommend being a director of a CIC or similar and if so why?  Yes, if you are motivated to help other people. Obviously, it isn’t something you go into just for personal gain. It is good experience if you have been on a career break as it can help demonstrate your ability to work in a team and build your transferable skills, helping to get back into the workplace.

I personally think it is something to be proud of and find it very fulfilling.

For more information on the Healthy Living Centre in Aylesbury, please see its website, where you can also see details of current volunteer opportunities.

Find out more about volunteering as a trustee, and browse some of the roles available in Bucks.

Updated on October 28, 2020

Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society