Who are you and what is your role at CABB?
My name is Mike Walker and I’m the chair of trustees at CABB. I originally moved to Bolton around fifteen years ago, and since then have worked in various local governments, attempting to bring about change and transformation within the local area.
The main thing that drew me to Citizens Advice was the direct influence that the charity has on vulnerable people. Whereas in local government you’re quite removed from these issues, Citizens Advice staff are very much dealing with the problems at the source, and I wanted to support them and the community however I could.
Tell us about your role as chair of trustees?
I’ve been chair of trustees since November 2021, and it’s a role I’m really enjoying. I really like the opportunity to work very closely with the executive team here at CABB and the chance to offer my expertise at board level. A lot of people think being a trustee is just showing up to meetings and having a cup of tea, but it’s a real responsibility and one that I feel has brought me a lot closer to Citizens Advice.
What are the day to day responsibilities of a trustee?
Our responsibilities include things like setting and approving budgets, challenging the views of officers and using our connections within the community to help promote the service within the local area. It’s our job to help the service think towards the future and plan how we’re going to respond to challenges.
Our role isn’t to be involved with the day-to-day running of the service as that’s the responsibility of the management team. It’s about helping as much as we can on the strategic side whilst making sure we don’t get in the way of the operation of the service.
What are you most proud of during your time at CABB?
What makes me most proud is when we receive reports from the advice service showing some of the individual people we’ve helped. The stories we see really show the complexity of people’s lives and how our advisers are able to deal with this, where other services might not be able to. People will turn up to Citizens Advice with a bag of bills and problems and our advisers are able to make sense of it and sort it out. That makes me really proud.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about becoming a trustee at CABB?
We’re always on the lookout for new trustees, and the main thing we’re looking for is for people with experiences that can help us. That could mean knowledge from a technical point of view, but we also really need to understand people from our community as well. It’s vital to have different views and emotions at board level in order to properly reflect the local area and to make sure we’re doing what’s right.