Amanda Bunce became a Trustee for Hft in 2018. Prior to this, she worked in customer service and operations management for the whole of her career, spending the last 13 years working for IBM Global Business Services as one of their Vice Presidents in the UK & Ireland. To mark Volunteers’ Week, we spoke to Amanda about her passion for volunteering and her experience of being a Trustee for Hft.

Two people at Voices to be Heard group meeting
Amanda Bunce at a Voices to be Heard meeting

What inspires you to volunteer?

Having worked in business for over 40 years, I wanted to learn something new and also use some of my experience to hopefully add value. I wanted to work with people with learning disabilities, and this role has allowed me to bring these things together.

What made you decide to become a Trustee for Hft?

I was asked to help at a sports event for people with learning disabilities, which was my first experience of spending time with this very special group of people and knew this was something I wanted to be a part of when I had the opportunity. So when I retired from IBM in 2017 and was asked by someone working in the Not for Profit charity sector if I would be interested in a Trustee position at Hft, I researched Hft, met with one of the Trustees and the CEO to learn more about Hft’s values, and had no hesitation in accepting the role.

What is involved in being a Trustee for Hft?

There are many different aspects to being a Trustee for Hft. I am a member of the main council working with other Trustees and the Executive team in overseeing the running of Hft, which involves making day to day decisions as well as for the future.

I also co-chair our Voices to be Heard forum, alongside one of our members. It is an opportunity for people we support to voice their opinions and feed into the Trustee Council. We meet three times a year, in Bristol and Bradford, with members coming from all over the country.

I have recently joined the Partnership Forum as a representative for the Trustees, to better understand the challenges and priorities of our staff.

What is the best part about being a Trustee for Hft?

Meeting people we support and the staff. It never ceases to amaze me how many obstacles the people we support overcome. They are inspiring and keep me focussed on why we are here at Hft, to support them to live the best life possible.

How has your past experience helped you in your role as a Trustee?

I have worked for large global corporations, from being an office junior to a vice president. This experience has given me many skills, including working with other organisations, as well as working with and managing people from across the world. You had to communicate well and regularly with everyone. You don’t have to be the expert but instead you need to be able to bring people with different skills together. I use these skills at Hft all the time.

What do you enjoy most about being part of Voices to be Heard?

Listening and watching people enjoy themselves and each other’s company, making friends and just joining in. The noise in the room is so positive and there is a lot of laughter! The group is growing in confidence and really having an input into what is most important to them.

What would you say to someone thinking of volunteering for Hft?

Hft is so much more than governance and committees; we have a great bunch of people who will help you navigate how the organisation runs. The reward is being able to help people with a learning disability in whatever way you can – it all makes a difference.