Wessex Community Action is the council for voluntary services in Wiltshire and provides practical support for community organisations on funding, governance, planning, policy development, recruiting and leadership. This monthly volunteering column looks at all aspects of volunteering and how people can give up their time for the benefit of their communities.

Trustees' Week, from November 6 to 10, highlights the vital role that trustees can play in supporting, shaping and guiding charities and voluntary groups.

It’s also a chance to celebrate their contribution and thank them for their commitment. Even though they play such an important role, trustees are volunteers too. Many people who give up their time to be a trustees is a great way of contributing to causes they care about and developing strategic and leadership skills at the same time.

Being a trustee can also help with professional development and add depth to a CV by providing experience of being a non-executive director. The work can include devising a strategic vision, influencing, negotiation and managing risk. Even those with experience find it stimulating to use it in a different context.

Damian Haasjes is head of business development and community engagement for Wiltshire Wildlife Trust but also finds time to volunteer as a trustee for Wiltshire Scouts and Wiltshire Community Foundation. “I believe in these organisations, I think they do really great work and from my point of view, I just want to be able to help,” he said.

“The thing about Scouting is I don't have the capacity or ability to run a Scout group or something like that but I still really wanted to help because I really love the organisation. Being on the executive committee as a trustee was something I could do.”

He said he enjoys the challenge of working in both organisations and has learnt a lot. “I feel that I am in some small way helping and supporting the groups to do things for other people,” he said. “My role feels like a small cog in that but an important one so that makes me feel quite positive.

“It takes you out of your comfort zone of where you are, it still uses those skills you have but you apply them in a different way and I think that I've definitely gained learning from that and taken that back into my work.”

Wessex Community Action works with charities and groups across the county to help support their trustees, particularly those who are new in the role. We provide training to help them understand their volunteer roles and responsibilities, to help them lead the fantastic charity work across Wiltshire.

An ideal place to look for trustee opportunities is Wiltshire Together, a digital community platform hosted by Wessex Community Action. On it, organisations and charities manage all their own content and activities so it’s always up to date, and users are connected straight back to that organisation.

It’s free to use and allows users to browse and pledge interest for the opportunities listed. Users can also set up a member profile that allows them to log their volunteer hours, which can help with CVs and employability prospects.

The site now has a new Volunteering in Wiltshire page and can be found at wiltshiretogether.org.uk. To find out more about trustee training and support to register interest in volunteering, contact Volunteer and Community Development Worker Sarah Pickering at volunteerdev@wessexcommunityaction.org.uk