On Tuesday 4th October, senior managers and trustees gathered at Hilton Newcastle Gateshead to explore the charity’s priorities over the next 18 months.

The day was led by Robert Laycock of Yes We Can, an organisation that develops social leadership in the north east through training programmes, workshops, coaching, mentoring, facilitation and other initiatives. Robert has extensive experience working with voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations.

The purpose of the day was to strengthen the connections and working relationships between senior managers and trustees and to begin developing a business plan that will guide the charity over the next two years.

Trustees and senior managers play an important role in ensuring that the charity stays true to its aims while preparing for the challenges and opportunities that the future might bring.

Yet it’s easy to be drawn into the issues that arise day-to-day, rather than taking time to look at the bigger picture. There’s a real value in sitting together to share experiences, hopes and concerns. Even better when it’s in a relaxing environment, guided by someone with the expertise to tease out everyone’s unique perspective and keep the day on track.

Robert led a programme of discussion and activity that explored the role of trustees and senior management, the charity’s strengths and weaknesses, the opportunities and threats that might arise over the next 18 months, and actions that we can take to help us to achieve a best-case scenario. But the day doesn’t stop there. Managers and trustees will build on the day’s discussion to create a business strategy that will guide the charity over the coming years.

With this being my first away day, I went in as a blank page but at the end I felt like everything had been covered to help. I personally learnt the importance of ensuring we look at the bigger picture and not just one piece.

Beth Dodgson, Trustee.

Special thanks to Hilton for the great working space and lovely lunch and Robert Laycock for planning and facilitating the day!