Trustees Week: an interview with Simon Massey
9 November 2022
As part of our interview series marking Trustees Week, we talk to Children in Scotland’s Head of Engagement & Learning Simon Massey about being a board member of relationship counselling charity Bright Light.
Name: Simon Massey
Current ‘day’ job: Head of Engagement & Learning at Children in Scotland.
Charity that you’re a trustee of: Bright Light – relationship counselling.
Length of time on the board: Four years and seven months.
Why did you become a trustee?
I’ve been a Trustee in the past and undertaken other voluntary roles and was looking for a new volunteer role having moved to Edinburgh in 2015.
Talking therapies are very close to my heart having both received counselling myself and delivered therapeutic social work services in the past – I know first-hand the difference it can make. I wanted to use my skills and knowledge to support a charity delivering counselling and joining the Board was a great way to do it.
What’s the best thing about it?
Working with a varied group of people as part of a system that helps shape the direction of the charity and, ultimately, ensures people can receive counselling services in a cost effective, accessible manner.
What kind of challenges has the charity faced that you’ve been able to help with?
I think I have been able to support Bright Light and the Board through a lot of change over the past couple of years. I became the Vice-chair last year and the Chair this year when several very well-established Trustees came to the end of their terms. My leadership and management skills and knowledge have been (hopefully!) very useful.
The obvious challenge is going to be the Covid-19 response! We were all going through the same thing across different work settings and our personal lives. The sharing of “what works” and “don’t dos” was really helpful and created another layer of connection when so many of our usual ones were broken.
It’s also been an interesting period where I’ve been able to take my Children in Scotland experiences and use them in supporting Bright Light developments – including a recent review of the charity’s values and the new Strategic Plan.
How does being a trustee support your own personal or professional development?
On a personal level, it has provided me with the opportunity to meet with people I’d probably not come into contact with usually, creating friendships that will go beyond my time at Bright Light.
Professionally it allows me to develop my skills in a different setting and, while many of these are transferrable, the responsibilities as a Trustee are different to that of a paid worker so it allows a different type of development.
The role also allows me to work with organisations outside of my Children in Scotland world, some of which may well lead to future partnerships – I’m always looking out for new opportunities!
Follow Bright Light on Twitter: @Bright_Light_47