Blog > Oh! Trustee’s Interview: Polly Richards

Oh! Trustee’s Interview: Polly Richards

Polly has lived in the local area for the past 20 years. She is currently Creative Programming and Interpretation Manager for Historic Royal Palaces (based at the Tower of London), where she creatively directs the visitor experience. Previously a theatre and then film designer, Polly has worked as an interpretive planner in the Museum sector for the past 12 years. She also has a PhD in Dogon Masquerade, from central Mali.

It is a snapshot of Bethnal Green. As a community and arts organisation. Oxford House is a mix of all that I love about this local area, where I have lived for over 20 years. I like a good challenge and saw they needed someone with heritage interpretation skills to help with the Heritage Lottery Project. When I first looked round I fell in love with the chapel at the top of the building and couldn’t bear the fact that water was pouring through the roof.

There’s more to it than meets the eye. This is my first trustee position and the main thing I have learned is how governance works, and what a trustee’s role is.

You can really make a difference. The best thing about being a trustee is using your knowledge and network to help enable an organisation to achieve the challenge it has set itself, and working as part of a team of other trustees.

The worst thing is seeing an organisation in need that you can’t devote your full time to helping (because you already have a full time job).

Get a deeper insight into your community. I work at the Tower of London and being a trustee of Oxford House gives me invaluable insight into another organisation based in Tower Hamlets. It provides new perspectives on who our local community is and what their needs and interests are.

Give them your heart and soul. Make sure you become a trustee of something that tugs at your heartstrings. You are going to commit lots of time to this role, so it is vital that you care about it deeply. It can’t just be something you do just because it looks good on your cv.

Hayley Downey