Leeds GATE

Working to improve the quality of life for Gypsies and Travellers

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Leeds LS9 0BD

Welcome to Leeds GATE’s new Executive Board from Ben Chastney

Ben Chastney's picture
By Ben Chastney |  June 6, 2016 |

This week Leeds GATE held our Annual General Meeting (AGM).  The meeting is a legal requirement and is one of the important ways that our members can get involved in leading our organisation.

This year our guest speaker was Cllr Alison Lowe from Armley.  Alison has been a local councillor for a number of years, she is Chair of Trustees for local Asylum Seeker organisation – PAFRAS and is also CEO of a local mental health charity. Aside from providing inspiration from her own life into how to get on and achieve, Alison provided some more specific advice and suggestions to the Board themselves about what role they can and should play.  Alison’s input was much appreciated and we look forward to her returning in a few months’ time to meet the team again.

The key business of the AGM is to elect and re-elect members onto the Executive Board.  Happily the new Executive Board will be a strong mix of existing members and fresh faces. It’s very heartening to see members who have accessed our services over time ‘stepping up to the plate’ to join in with governance. A couple of members stood down this time so we want to say a huge thanks for the valuable time they have given to GATE.  Overall, with the addition of new, and return of existing members, the Board is a healthy size, slightly larger than previous.

The other key development this year is that for the key roles of Chair, Treasurer and Secretary it was agreed that these positions will each have ‘co’, in other words a person acting in support of the main role, allowing members to mentor others, ensuring the capacity and skills of the Board.  Stay tuned for the full details but, again, there will be a good mix of fresh faces and experience.  Like all similar organisations, we need an active Board who are committed to the aim of Leeds GATE – Improving quality of life for Gypsies and Travellers - who provide the team with clear direction and support the staff team in the wider work of promoting Gypsy and Traveller wellbeing.  I am confident that we have the individuals to make this happen. 

One of the main strengths of Leeds GATE is that we are led by Gypsy and Travellers.  Nowhere is this clearer than from our Executive Board, which has a strong majority of Gypsy and Traveller members, directing our CEO, staff team and volunteers.  It is what gives me as a staff member confidence that I am doing what the community would like me to be doing and makes GATE’s voice an authoritative and authentic one.  It is therefore really positive that we again will have a strong Executive Board this year of which Gypsy and Travellers are such a core part.

You can read our annual report here (long version), or the ‘at a Glance’ version here

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