Emmaus Merseyside is part the national charity, Emmaus UK, which provides accommodation, training and work opportunities for homeless people.
In Merseyside, in conjunction with Riverside Housing, the charity has recently completed a new build development which will provide en-suite accommodation for two people. The charity also runs a 7,000 sq. ft. superstore selling quality used furniture and household goods. The superstore also provides some of the training and work opportunities and helps to sustain the organisation in the longer term.
In his day job, Phil works as a Corporate Tax Manager at Langtons, a firm of chartered accountants and business advisors in Liverpool.
He decided to volunteer for a charity some time ago but wanted to make sure it was a local charity and a role in which he could put his accounting skills to use. When he saw the Treasurer’s role at Emmaus advertised through Trustees Unlimited, he decided to apply.
Phil comments: “Whilst I have 10 years experience, I wasn’t sure this was enough to take on the responsibility of Treasurer, however, I was pleasantly surprised. I think the charity recruited me because I had the right skills and I was really enthusiastic about helping the homeless people in our community. Also the charity was keen to recruit someone younger to achieve a better balance amongst its Trustees.”
“As social media is a key driver of the publicity for our charity, it was also important I could bring these skills to the board, as most of our other trustees don’t understand it.”
Prior to taking over as Treasurer, Phil attended several trustee meetings, and had a two hour handover with the previous Treasurer. All the other trustees have made him feel really welcome. One of the most exciting parts of the role, and also the most challenging, is that is not just a bookkeeping role.
Phil explains, “The charity aims to be self-sufficient through its retail outlet. We need to make sure the retail site is an attractive offering for the public and will fund the accommodation we provide entirely. It’s a great funding model and really focuses my work as a Treasurer.”
He estimates that he spends an hour or two working for the charity every week as well as time spent attending meetings. Luckily his company is fairly flexible and as long as he does the required hours for his job, they are happy for him to do his trustee work.
He believes that it’s essential for charities to have younger people on their boards, although he appreciates that many people of his age are tied up with families so it’s not always that easy to spare the time.
Phil believes that there is a lot of dissatisfaction in the UK amongst younger people, both politically and career wise, and that charities should try and do more to engage younger people more as this could provide them with a meaningful focus as well as valuable skills.
“Charities have a lot to gain by recruiting younger trustees and balancing the expertise of older trustees with the enthusiasm and fresh perspectives younger people bring,” he concludes.