This week we celebrate Trustees Week and all the amazing work our Trustees do for East Kent Mencap. Amy Rutland, East Kent Mencap’s Chairperson and Executive Director, talked to us about her role as a Trustee, how she got involved with the charity, and the special bond with her sister, Lucy.
What motivated you to become involved with East Kent Mencap?
“During my time at university, I was a trustee in my students’ union. I found out about the value of the role, what it involves and what can develop from it. Moving back to Thanet, I saw that East Kent Mencap was looking for trustees so I put myself forward and joined the board in summer 2012.
My sister, Lucy, lives just ten doors from my house with my parents so she can come over to see me whenever she wants. Lucy has Down Syndrome and goes to East Kent Mencap’s Ramsgate Hub.
Being a sibling of someone with a learning disability, I have always been passionate about disability rights and welfare. Championing disability rights is really important to me.”
Tell us about your role at East Kent Mencap
“The role of a trustee, now known as director, is to lead and guide an organisation. I like to think of East Kent Mencap as a big ship, the directors are at the helm of the ship, we make decisions and steer whether we should go left or right. We don’t get involved in the operational day-to-day work, our excellent colleagues and teams look after that, but we help guide the journey of the ship or in our case, the charity.
One of the largest parts of our role is the financial management. In recent years, we have also guided East Kent Mencap through COVID, advised on our property portfolio, supported the legal change for the charity to become a Public Limited Company and support East Kent Mencap CEO, Jason Gerlack with any tough decisions.
What do you enjoy most about being an executive director?
“Being an executive director is an opportunity for me to share my experiences, connections, and perspective to support the charity.
There are four other East Kent Mencap directors on the board: Bridget Crow, Mark Everett MBE, Michael Roberts and Angela Stuart. It is a great team, and they all bring so much value to the board with their vast experience, passion and strengths.”
Amy and Lucy at the Co-Op Ramsgate collecting a donation cheque
Can you share your most memorable East Kent Mencap moment?
“In my day job, I work for an NHS trust and during COVID I was able to put the right people in touch, to enable East Kent Mencap to host an outreach Covid vaccination centre at the Ramsgate Hub.
We made it a safe, familiar environment so people with a learning disability were able to get a vaccine. We broke down the barriers to access and I was proud of the role I played in facilitating this.”
What would you say to someone who is thinking about coming to work or volunteer at East Kent Mencap?
“If there is an opportunity to get involved – take it, you will absolutely love it! It is such a rewarding organisation to be part of, even during the toughest times there will always be a moment that makes you smile and make it worthwhile.”
Amy at the Kent Care Awards 2022
What does East Kent Mencap mean to you?
“The charity is here to support the ideas, goals and milestones of people with a learning disability – when people can’t speak up for themselves, it’s our job to do that. As an organisation, we advocate and empower our members to live their best lives and it is something I am really proud to play a part in.”