Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

My rewarding experience as a trustee

Posted: November 21, 2023 at 10:51 am Author: Rachel Walker

I have been a FoWA trustee since early 2019. When our young family moved to Malmesbury in summer 2018, almost everyone we met told us 'you must go to Westonbirt!' and it was our first local outing. We loved it, and soon signed up as members. Shortly after, I saw the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum (The Friends) was looking for a trustee with HR expertise. I know how important people are to an organisation, and I was really keen to get involved and support. The Friends is really lucky to have a great hard working and motivated team.

Rachel Walker, trustee, at the coronation

I've been involved in many different people-related activities during my time as Trustee, such as working out the best reward practices for staff, the key HR policies to have in place, how to support the team for homeworking during COVID-19 lockdowns and planning recruitment activities for new staff such as the CEO. Interviews are a two-way process, so seeing how someone I have helped recruit in post having an impact to FoWA's work and fully enjoying their role is a particular highlight for me. Another highlight was being one of The Friends' representatives at the coronation of King Charles III, knowing that the great work of the charity was being recognised by being invited to such a special event.

Rachel Walker's children playing at Westonbirt

Having two small children, I visit Westonbirt regularly, either as a family or to meet friends. My children have their own preferred route to go and visit the Gruffalo, with favourite spots to explore and hide - including the 'cave tree' which has its own kitchen, bedroom and living room (they are 3 and 6 so have active imaginations!). During the pandemic, Westonbirt seemed one of the only places we could continue to visit and my children could run around and explore, so was a great place for our wellbeing. Seeing all the facilities that members have helped support over the years makes me really proud to work as a Trustee and grateful for all the membership support The Friends has.