In October this year, I will come to the end of three terms serving on the Council of the National Trust. I was the first ever tenant elected to Council in over 100 years of Trust existence. The role enabled me to bring to the attention of the Senior Executive and Trustees, issues relating to the unique role of tenants. It has been a fascinating and rewarding nine years during which much has changed at the Trust.
The primary role of the Council is to ensure that the Trust is fulfilling its aims. This is done by monitoring the performance of the Board of Trustees in its control and management of the administration of the Charity. Really, it’s about being a ‘critical friend’ to the Trust. It sounds daunting, but there is initial training and an extremely helpful team to support Council Members in completing the required procedures.
The Council convenes three times a year, with one three-day visit to one of the national regions, wrapped around the June meeting. There are decisions to be made between meetings (usually by email) and Council members are encouraged to get involved with some of the sub-committees which are set up to support Council and Trustee elections. Travel and other expenses are covered by the NT.
I would urge anyone interested to look into becoming a Council member. It is incredibly interesting with a diverse range of topics to discuss and debate from ecologically sound farming, managing increased visitor numbers to the conservation of buildings and chattels. The Council members themselves come from a wide range of backgrounds, but have a shared passion for the Trust and what it does. The Council is keen to attract members from all its regions.
It has been a pleasure to support TANT as a Council member and since my election two other tenants have served on Council; TANT committee member, Peter Bate, is still on Council. It would be good to try and maintain the presence of tenants on Council. If you have read this far perhaps you should consider putting yourself up for election in 2020!