From 13th – 17th November, it’s National Trustees Week, highlighting the important role of Trustees in guiding and supporting Scotland’s charity sector. Each day we’ll be highlighting the stories of Trustees from across the LGBT+ community and the vital role they have in driving forward equality in Scotland.

Karim Mahmoud, LEAP Sports Scotland

Karim Mahmoud is 26 years old and lives in Aberdeen, and has been a trustee of LEAP Sports Scotland since 2013. Karim has served a term as secretary, and is currently the Chair of the organisation’s Compliance sub-group.

“I was informed about the opportunity to become a trustee by a friend who was on the board. I had heard of LEAP Sports Scotland but did not know much about what being a charity trustee entailed or the responsibilities but after conducting some research and reading the information pack closely, I decided to apply and I was invited to attend an information evening. I was delighted when I was invited to join the board – the rest is history!”

“Being a charity trustee brings with it much fulfilment and you will interact with passionate individuals from a diverse background to solve problems together. I have cherished these relationships greatly and expanded my circle of friends as a result. Evidently, a sense of “making a difference” drove me to seek the trusteeship but not only did it benefit the charity, it also helped me develop new knowledge and abilities. The role requires flexibility due to the range of activities undertaken from scrutinising the accounts to representing the board at a meeting with stakeholders so you develop transferable skills without realising it!”

“For the charity and its sustainability, the input of the trustees is crucial as they will be devising the strategy to drive forward its activities and they must use care and skill as well as have an awareness what is going on around them. Ultimately, trustees are legally accountable for the charity which of course is important from a governance perspective. This can be a daunting prospect but there is a collective responsibility so the burden is shared amongst the entire Board so don’t let this discourage you.”

“If you are thinking about being a trustee, be prepared to work hard as it will be a demanding endeavour! It will place demands on your time but you will acquire new skills, meet interesting people and expose yourself to different aspects of running an organisation from choices on what colour the logo should be to important decisions about what pension scheme should be offered to employees. If you are thinking of joining a board, my advice is that you research your charity of interest thoroughly and, if possible, ask to attend a meeting of the board of trustees. The time commitment and level of involvement will vary between different boards and charities but you will likely need to read and contribute to papers in advance of meetings so make sure you are aware of the expectations before you formally accept the role. ”

“I highly recommend the role of charity trustee as it is a great opportunity to give back and it will almost certainly be a development opportunity that will enrich your life!”

Trustees are the people in charge of a charity. They help to make the UK the sixth most giving country in the world. There are around 180,000 trustees in over 24,000 charities operating in Scotland. They play a vital role and make important decisions about a charity’s work.
Charities in Scotland are regulated by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). Their Chief Executive, David Robb said:
“In my six years as OSCR Chief Executive, I’ve been fortunate to see the huge impact that comes from the hard work of dedicated trustees. The 180,000 trustees of Scottish charities make an enormous difference to communities across the country, volunteering their time and working together to lead the strategic direction of their charities.”
“We encourage anyone who is a trustee, or who is interested in becoming one, to participate in Trustees’ Week. Many people are booked to attend events held throughout the country that highlight the significant impact of their work and provide practical advice on how someone can become a trustee themselves – but there are opportunities to participate online too.”
“As always, it is a privilege for OSCR to be involved. It is a brilliant opportunity to highlight the great work that goes on in charities and to show the ways in which people can get more involved in the Sector.”

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