Trustees’ Week 6-10 November 2023 – a time for us to come together, to celebrate the achievements of nearly one million Trustees across the UK.
Simon Perks, a Trustee for Pilgrims Hospices, shares his insights and experiences on the occasion of Trustees’ Week. With nine years of service under his belt, he sheds light on his journey and the significance of being a Trustee for this beloved local charity.
Simon’s journey as a Trustee began when he was working for the local NHS, where he recognised the invaluable contribution Pilgrims Hospices made in supporting, and caring for the people of east Kent. His background in clinical services, and a desire to ensure the hospices’ services met local needs inspired him to join as a Trustee. His aim was to help the hospices’ develop services that not only catered to diverse local populations, but also seamlessly connected with other healthcare services, ensuring easy referrals for those in need of palliative or end-of-life care.
He believes that everyone, Trustees included, play a role in ensuring that hospice services reflect the local community. He personally fulfils this role by meeting with staff, and occasionally interacting with patients. He has lived in east Kent for almost 28 years, and as the Chair of the Clinical Services Development Committee, he sees his role as one of support and challenge in encouraging hospice staff to ensure their plans extend their services to as many people as possible, and reach those who may not typically seek hospice care.
One way Simon and his fellow Trustees have amplified the voices of those served by Pilgrims Hospices, is by supporting the development of new services such as our Think, Talk Act services. These services have been developed to ensure that we can work with NHS GP’s in Primary Care, to identify those who may be coming to the end of their life, and ensure they have care plans in place, and access to Pilgrims Services. A strength of Pilgrims Hospices lies in its Trustees’ ability to collaborate effectively. With a diverse range of backgrounds, they come together to hopefully make informed, collective decisions to help navigate challenging conditions. Most recently they have supported improvement in the hospices’ financial position and the continued development of clinical services.
Simon’s favourite aspect of being a Pilgrims Trustee is witnessing the charity’s continuing growth and the enthusiasm with which new service ideas are developed. He’s inspired by the charity’s ability to identify needs, innovate, and implement them in the face of common challenges.
It is a privilege to play a small part in a charity that is so important to the people of east Kent
For Simon, Pilgrims means a great deal, as it is a vital part of the east Kent community. Many residents are familiar with Pilgrims through the care they provide to loved ones, donation pots in local stores and community areas, Pilgrims’ shops, and fundraising events. The fact that Pilgrims is funded by local communities and services developed and delivered to meet the needs of the people of east Kent makes it truly special.
To ensure that the Board of Trustees decisions and actions reflect the diverse perspectives and needs of the community Pilgrims Hospices serves, Simon acknowledges the ongoing challenge of understanding the intricacies of those needs. Trustees must continue to challenge each other and the Executive Management Team, to ensure the future sustainability of Pilgrims.
Over his long tenure as a Trustee, Simon has witnessed numerous positive changes, including the future of the Canterbury hospice and the incredible COVID-19 response from hospice staff. Looking ahead, he aspires for Pilgrims to further engage with a wide range of stakeholders to develop future services that will meet the needs of both our current and future beneficiaries. As for the evolving role of Trustees, Simon hopes they will focus on clinical and care aspects, and find ways to better listen to the community’s needs.
Everyone, Trustees included, play a role in ensuring that hospice services reflect the local community.
To anyone considering becoming a Pilgrims Trustee in the future, Simon’s message is clear: “Do it.” It is a privilege to play a small part in a charity that is so important to the people of east Kent and embodies the best of the community’s values. Trustees like Simon are unsung heroes, dedicating their time and expertise to ensure that Pilgrims Hospices continues its mission of providing compassionate care and support for years to come. Applications are welcomed, especially from those with clinical, medical and nursing backgrounds. For those interested in a Trustee role with Pilgrims Hospices, please contact our Chair of Trustees, Karen Warden for an informal discussion at: email@example.com
Trustees’ Week, celebrated from November 6 to 10, is the perfect time to recognise their invaluable contributions.
Each year Pilgrims supports thousands of local people coping with a life-limiting illness and their families. The charity offers a range of services: from end-of-life care given on its wards, to its Wellbeing Programme supporting people after they are diagnosed to live well and stay independent.