Are you looking for the opportunity to make a difference?
The Parks Trust is an independent charity that looks after over 6,000 acres of parks, lakes and landscapes in Milton Keynes and is governed by a board of trustees.
Being a trustee is a volunteer role and gives the opportunity to contribute to the strategy of the organisation and really make a difference to the green spaces and communities in Milton Keynes.
One of our current trustees, Junita Fernandez, has recently announced that she will be leaving the Trust for a fantastic opportunity in Shanghai. Junita joined the Trust four years ago and has made a really positive impact to the charity, particularly within the areas of finance and auditing. We are now looking for a new trustee with similar experience to replace Junita.
We took the opportunity to interview Junita about her experience of volunteering as a trustee with us before we wish her a fond farewell on her exciting adventures;
Junita, what is your career background and current full-time job role?
I am a qualified chartered accountant with 18 years’ experience in the Automotive industry. I currently work for Suzuki GB in Milton Keynes as Director of Finance and Corporate Operations which includes the functions of Finance, HR, IT and Compliance.
My main role is to positively contribute to the success of Suzuki GB by providing leadership, direction and a framework for the Company to operate successfully and achieve its corporate objectives. I am passionate about my team being strong business partners and efficient through the use of innovative technology. I am a Board member along with three other Directors and report to the Managing Director.
What attracted you to apply to be a Trustee for The Parks Trust?
Having lived in Milton Keynes for 24 years with three children and a dog we have enjoyed the many wonderful parks in Milton Keynes as a family, especially Willen Lake and the Ouzel Valley river walk. I sometimes take a break from my office and visit the Howe Park Wood café and work there for a change of scenery and lunchtime stroll.
I was impressed by the range of activities and projects that the Trust is involved in. It isn’t just about the parks but also very much about the communities that live here. The Parks Trust provide opportunities to join in activities such as Park Run, Water Sports and Women’s Walking network. The Trust is also involved in significant projects like restoring Great Linford Manor Park and the brick kilns.
When my children left home, I wanted to volunteer some time to work with a charity I was passionate about and where I could use my skills to make a difference.
How have you found the experience of being a trustee for The Parks Trust and what have you gained from it personally?
I have really enjoyed working with other trustees and hearing their different views. The leadership team at the Trust is very strong and passionate about their goals. Proposals are constructively challenged from different viewpoints- finance, sustainability, legal and environmental to make sure that the right decisions are made.
The variety of projects that we are involved with makes the Trustee role very interesting for example, the significant investment at Willen Lake, purchasing the marina, letting of commercial property and investment funds.
In terms of what I have gained personally, I have learnt a lot about the complexities of running a charity. I’ve also learnt about the challenges that The Trust faces including the growing population in Milton Keynes, the desire to attract more people to the parks and also the issues that this can create such as managing litter.
What have you found to be the most interesting thing you have worked on whilst being our trustee?
Most interesting for me was the investment in the excellent watersports building and café at Willen Lake – we’ve needed this change for a number of years because of the growing number of visitors and I live nearby to enjoy it! A nice walk to the café for a coffee is a great way to start the day. It’s a good facility, maintained well and is now serving the increase of visitors. I also found the purchase of the Marina very interesting – It looks great and it is exceeding expectations. I like that the Trust tries to do something different and finds new ways to make parks accessible and attractive to visitors.
Would you recommend others apply to be a Trustee for The Parks Trust and why?
Yes, I would as you can really make a difference to the community. You are encouraged to have a strong voice and influence decisions. Different opinions are respected at The Trust and this makes the role more varied.
It’s interesting to work on a variety of projects and to have the opportunity to learn how complex the charity is, how the funding works and the significant investments that it makes.
Can you tell us a bit about your exciting new role in Shanghai and what you are looking forward to most about it?
I will be taking a three-year contract in a finance role in a joint venture between Volkswagen Passenger cars and a Chinese company. I’m really looking forward to exploring a different part of the world, living in a cosmopolitan city and experiencing a completely different culture.
Are you interested in becoming a trustee at The Parks Trust?
The work of The Parks Trust includes the maintenance of the parks which involves everything from cutting the grass to repairing pathways to pollarding trees. We also look after the ecology and biodiversity of the green space and we are very active within the local community. We manage a large events programme, licence lots of fitness and social activities in the parks and run outdoor learning programmes from little tots through to adults. We are entirely self-funded mostly through our national property portfolio and financial investments.
Maybe this article will inspire you to consider applying to be a trustee for The Parks Trust – we are specifically looking for someone with a strong background in finance. If so, please contact David Foster, firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
The Parks Trust welcomes people from all backgrounds, and we are committed to improving the diversity of our team. We would love to receive more applications from Disabled, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups who are currently under-represented in our organisation. If you would like a tour or to pop in to meet some of our team whilst considering making an application, please get in touch.
You can find out more about becoming a trustee here.
Closing date for applications is Monday 13th December.