CRISTINA GEORGE seeks your support as she stands, once again, for election to the National Trust Council.
The National Trust is not just about land and property; it is about people – the membership, volunteers, tenant-custodians, staff, visitors – and engaging involvement and participation. Without people much of what the Trust does today is irrelevant. ‘For everyone,’ said Octavia Hill. How does the NT remain rele-vant to 21stC visitors? This is the biggest challenge the NT faces and I say: ‘Start with the Council’. Elect people who can represent a wide range of views, age groups and NT ‘users’. As a working mother of three teenagers and tenant-custodian of a property open to the public, I hope you may, once again, think me fit.
The Trust asks for people from all walks of life to join its Council, but until recently it retained systems that made it difficult for the ordinary working person. I have made some progress with changes to meeting dates; this has taken nearly three years! Now I ask for members’ support to see through my representation and challenge the Trust to respond to its own objectives across a range of initiatives.
In these increasingly straitened times, getting the provision of services right for its ‘users’ will be crucial for the NT, as will finding ways to engage new audiences. My experience in retailing could support the Trust’s retail development; my experience running a wedding business at one of the Trust’s properties could help guide the sensitive development of similar businesses at other properties; my early career could benefit the fund-raising activities of the Trust both at local and national level; as a teacher I can advise on youth engagement. Most of all I recognise that enthusiasm, energy and passion are key to being an effective contributor.
During my first three years on Council I have contributed to the sub-committee supporting NT staff to progress the vision for volunteering in 2020. This includes trying to determine what community involvement might look like in the future. The Trust struggles to reach urban and minority communities, but this will be critical for its future. I firmly believe that the Trust can be relevant to all of us, for ever.