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At Ramsdens we support staff that hold trustee positions and this week we’re featuring some of our team members as part of Trustee Week (4 -8 November 2019), who hold positions at local charities.

Our HR Manager, Claire Richardson is a regular volunteer at the Hoot Creative Arts organisation in Huddersfield.

Creative Expression, making a mark and being seen and heard is fundamental to being human. Hoot believe that we all have a creative and imaginative capacity that is of central importance to our mental and physical health, wellbeing and happiness. The organisation’s aim is to release this capacity – their mission is to support the development of creativity to build confidence and esteem, encourage personal growth and foster creative expression.

Hoot provide opportunities for participants to work with professional artists, giving them the chance to explore identity, emotional wellbeing, purpose and meaning in a safe, expressive and welcoming environment. The organisation always has something going on – their programme offers drumming, singing, writing, dance, visual and creative arts, and there is also the opportunity to engage with community events like Think Gigs or Hoot Roots.

Find out more about her role…

Why did you choose to get involved with Hoot Creative Arts?

"Our old Finance Director here at Ramsdens, Dave Barnes, originally asked me to use my charity day to offer assistance from a HR perspective, as this was a skill set missing at the time. I was happy to help out and initially did an hour a month being a sounding board for the CEO. Over time as we got to know each other better, I was asked to become a Trustee. I think this was a great introduction for me and helped me to understand what I was committing to."

What kinds of events do the organisation host to get people involved/raise awareness?

"Hoot is an Arts Council funded organisation and a service provider for Kirklees Art & Mental Health Service. They promote positive wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem through creative expression, which could be arts, crafts, creative writing, singing and/or music in the community, workplace and prisons. Their current projects include: Breathing Space, which offers people with dementia and their carers a range of creative activities to promote mental and physical wellbeing and meet and make new friendsOut of the Blue, which offers, free of charge, regular access to a wide range of arts activities in a group setting for adults living in Kirklees with mental health needsSinging for Fun, which is a group for over 55’s who want to experience the joy of singing in harmony with other people Volunteers form an important part of the team at Hoot and there are two ways to get involved – volunteering regularly supporting a particular session in Huddersfield, Batley or Dewsbury; or on a more ad hoc basis supporting an event as a member of the ‘Events Crew’."

What have you found most beneficial about regularly volunteering/taking up a position as a Trustee?

"The definition of a Trustee is a ‘Guardian of Purpose’, which sounds really grand, but I do it to help out a great cause. I bring my skills and experience and a different perspective. It’s a rewarding position and one that I would encourage others to explore."

Would you encourage others to join the team at Hoot?

"Of course, but you need to bring a certain type of ‘Hootiness’ which is very different from being part of a Law firm!"