• Why I became a CTA Trustee – Sue Leighton

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    • Why I became a CTA Trustee – Sue Leighton
    • by Sue Leighton
      CTA Trustee/ Chief Officer, South East Dorset Community Accessible Transport

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    When I was invited to apply for Trusteeship of our national membership body,  the Community Transport Association, I was intrigued by the opportunity but also wondered if I could contribute meaningfully to the team.

    I knew from working with the Trustees at SEDCAT (South East Dorset Community Accessible Transport where I work as Chief Officer) that the most efficient boards are a diverse representation of the communities they served. I was encouraged and prompted by that thought and decided that I would apply.

    I was fairly clear about the responsibilities of being a Trustee but wondered what role I could fulfil which would be helpful to the organisation and to its beneficiaries.

    My career in community transport started around 11 years ago following many years as a practitioner in mental health so I had good insight into what happens when people become mentally unwell and the events in people’s lives causal to this – feeling and becoming disconnected from others being an important factor in mental illness.

    I then found myself working in a sector which on the face of it connected people to services and activities (which in itself is extremely valuable) but underlying this work was a dedication to connect people to other people. This dedication is immense throughout the sector and was captured in the campaigns that the CTA mounted in response to the challenges around the Department for Transport’s proposed changes to section 19 and 22 permitsOrganisations came together to share stories, providing qualitative and quantitative  data which gave detail to the landscape and voice to the human experience of using community transport and I was very proud to contribute to this like so many other members.

    The CTA played a major role in making sure that this tidal wave of support and impactfulness reached the ears of those responsible for making political decisions; representing their members from communities across the UK. The role of the CTA is vital in getting information to those making decisions which affect communities as well as disseminating information from those same decision makers; an important task and not always an easy one. There are of course many challenges still in regard to this and we wait to see what lies ahead.

    Some of the other issues around innovation, technology and the shape of transport in the future which the CTA raise awareness of, have had to take a back seat. Personally I find these topics interesting and whilst many of the new technologies don’t always easily translate to the demographics of community transport users, they help give consideration to new ways of achieving the positive outcomes which we all focus on. They also bring in younger, eager contributors into the community transport arena and, having a young adult son immersed in technology and engineering, I believe that we should be continuing to bring some of that energy into CT with an eye to the future.

    This awareness raising and the support, guidance and training provided by the CTA has been key to the success and the strength of the sector and I’m pleased to give my contribution to the work of our national body and look forward to working with new and interesting people! Experience of managing a member organisation, regular contact with members, volunteers and other stakeholders keeps me with an ear close to the ground and affected by issues within the sector itself. The level of engagement between the Board and the front line is important and I hope that I can contribute.

    I look forward to working with the organisation in the future!

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