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Trustees Week: Blog by Rachel Bartholomeusz

Rachel Bartholomeusz

As part of Trustees Week, Rachel Bartholomeusz, who joined the board earlier this year as a Young Trustee, has written a blog for us about how she became involved with Challengers.

I first came into contact with Challengers about 13 years ago when my brother James started attending the old Oxted Playscheme (now the Godstone Playscheme). I was only 10 at the time, but vividly remember picking him up and hearing about the fun he had, and how much he loved the staff on scheme. It was only natural then that a few years later I became a Youth Worker myself at Caterham Youthscheme.

I can honestly say that the time spent on scheme was some of the most enjoyable and rewarding of my life. Being at Challengers did not seem like work, but instead an opportunity to make a real positive impact, learn, and have fun! As much as I was there to support the young people on scheme, everyday I took away something special from being with them. Once you put on that orange t-shirt you become part of the Challengers family. There is a real sense community among staff, young people and their families, which makes working for Challengers so unique.

After leaving university and getting a job, it became harder to commit my Saturdays and holidays to Youth Work. I started looking for other ways that I could continue to be a part of Challengers, and when I saw the advert for Young Trustee I didn’t think twice before applying.

I have always had a strong interest in the non-profit world and, after graduating, took part in the Charityworks Graduate Scheme. As part of the scheme I was placed in a small charity in Walton-on-Thames, focusing on marketing and communications. I also attended training on various topics relating to leadership in the non-profit sector including a session on governance, where I heard from a number of Young Trustees about the importance of diversity on the board. I now work in the Legacy Marketing Team at Cancer Research UK.

I am glad that I have been able to bring my experience of working in both large and small charities to the board, as well as my experience as a Youth Worker, and the sibling of someone who has attended scheme. Over the last year I have really enjoyed meeting and learning from the other Trustees on the board – the vast range of experience and different perspectives each person brings is incredible.

Being on the board has taught me a huge amount about Challengers as an organisation, particularly the huge team effort that enables each scheme to run. As a Youth Worker I had only been exposed to the Operations Team, however it has been great to see the incredible work that goes into other parts of the organisation such as fundraising, communications, and finance. Also, as a Youth Worker I had previously only really been focused on the day-to-day running of a scheme, whereas being on the board has enabled me to think more strategically, considering where we would like Challengers to be in 2/5/10 years time, and putting a plan in place to get there.

Outside of work and Challengers you can normally find me on the sports field. I am part of a local hockey and football team, and spend most of my evenings and weekends with either a hockey stick in my hand or a football at my feet. I also have a small obsession with musicals, my top 3 being Les Miserables, Billy Elliot and Wicked!

To find out more about our board of Trustees, visit the Trustees section of the website.