2017 marks the 40th year of St Columba’s Hospice
As part of our year-long programme of activities to mark four decades since we opened our doors to patients and families, we are publishing staff blogs from lots of members of our staff team at the Hospice.
So far, we have already published blogs from our volunteer services team, supportive care team, fundraising team, research team, domestic team and stewards team. Today, we publish a blog from Norval, the chair of our Board of Governors.
How long have you worked at the Hospice for?
I joined the Board of St Columba’s Hospice in 2004 and, apart from a short gap a few years ago, have been on the Board ever since.
Tell us about your role with the Board of Governors at the Hospice
I am Chairman of the Board of Governors. As such it is my role to chair board meetings, making sure all governors get an opportunity to contribute to Board decisions. It is also my responsibility to ensure the Board collectively has the appropriate level of knowledge and mix of skills so that there is a good chance that the decisions made by the Board are good decisions. Although the burden of being the public face of the Hospice falls on Jackie and her team I also have a role to play in representing the Hospice at some occasions.
How does your role help patients and families?
The Board of Governors bears the ultimate responsibility for the Hospice. The Board considers a wide range of topics, including for example financial, property and fundraising matters alongside reports from Jackie and her senior managers. To bring that to life I well remember our discussions at the Board on whether to proceed with the redevelopment. We were very conscious of the need to modernise the Hospice but equally we were only too well aware how much it would cost not only in terms of money but also in terms of disruption to both patients and staff as we moved out for a period and then back in. I think the result made the stress of taking that decision well worthwhile as patients and their families now benefit from a much better service from us.
What would surprise people about your role?
Tricky question! Not sure I know the answer to that, except perhaps that all Governors regard themselves as just members of our large army of volunteers.
What is it like working at the Hospice?
Well, first point to make is that for me it doesn’t feel like work! I do what I do because the Hospice put at its simplest is ‘a good thing’ and it gives me immense satisfaction to be associated with it. I just hope that what skills I have gained from my business life contribute in some way to it continuing to thrive in the future. Being on the Board is like being a runner in a relay race; previous governors have taken the Hospice to where it is now, it is our role to take it further forward and then, in due course, pass the baton on to our successors.
What do you like doing in your own time?
As little as possible! More seriously, I enjoy being with family, I like running and I keep in touch with the wider world by reading and by being an independent member of a senior committee of the Bank of England. African safaris feature at the top of my list of travel destinations.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Only that I feel privileged to be associated with the Hospice and what it does.