Celebrating our Trustees: Passion, Duty and Diligence

To mark Trustees Week 2022, Neil Slater, Global Head of Real Estates at abrdn, reflects on his 7 months as LandAid’s Chair, and the potential for Trustees to make a difference in changing times.

Youth homelessness continues to remain a growing issue across the UK. The number of young people presenting as homeless or at risk of homelessness has risen from 86,000 to 122,000 since 2017.

This is a societal problem and one that takes a collective effort to tackle. It needs all stakeholders to work around common goals and outcomes – be they from charities and their partners, government, local authorities, supporters, volunteers, staff or Trustees.

I am proud to play my own part in LandAid’s mission, helping to achieve an end to youth homelessness in the UK. I am proud to share this responsibility with the other members of LandAid’s Board.

All charities in the UK are governed by a Trustee Board that takes responsibility for all elements of the charity’s work. Trustees have specific duties which they must follow. The Charity Commission regulates all charities in England and Wales, seting out these duties and the governance of charities.

Trustees must act collectively. So it is vital that our Board represents a diverse range of skills and expertise across all aspects of LandAid’s work. We must carry out our duties not only to tick a regulatory box, but to fulfil our moral duty to do the best we can for the young people we seek to support.

Through our regular formal Board meetings, Committees and Regional Boards (which include a broader set of partners and stakeholders), together with the open line of communication between individual Trustees and LandAid staff, we are able to support and challenge the team and help deliver real impact on the ground, whilst ensuring strategic oversight over the charity’s overall direction and progress.

None of this would be possible without individual Trustees, who bring a passion for the cause to the table. Typically these are individuals whose passion is backed up by experience and knowledge within areas we operate – and are people willing to roll their sleeves up and put the time in!

I am proud to Chair a Board which fulfils these criteria. It gives me great pleasure to be able to use Trustees Week to thank LandAid’s Trustees for their passion, duty and diligence. I hugely appreciate and value their excellent support, challenge and guidance given both to the LandAid team and to myself as Chairperson.

As a Board, we are now starting to train our sights on the more distant horizon. As we get closer to 2024, and the end of LandAid’s current strategic cycle, we are beginning discussions on how LandAid, together with colleagues and partners in the real estate industry, can accelerate progress in ending youth homelessness in the UK.

We want to explore what achieving our mission might look like at that point, beyond providing the vital bedspaces that there is an ever-increasing need for.

I look forward to seeing how these discussions develop and invite all parts of the real estate industry, construction and operations, through to debt finance and investors, to join us in our mission.