Berkshire Phab needs you! Find out more about being a trustee

Author's position
Article date
1 September 2014
Primary interest

berks phab 2 Berks Phab


Would you like to be a trustee for a charity which helps people with disabilities to integrate within a social setting? Berkshire Phab is urgently seeking trustees, preferably with management skills in finance, human resources, operations or sales and marketing, to help run the charity. Trustees are responsible for ensuring that the charity functions well and prospers. They are involved in a whole range of work, which includes promoting the needs of the Members and their families, organising feedback so that they can develop services and fund-raise. Most importantly, trustees should have the interests of the charity at heart. All applications, from people of all ages, will be gratefully considered!

Berkshire Phab was set up over 40 years ago and is based in the purpose built MAPP community centre, close to the centre of Reading. It offers a drop in centre, open 10.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m., Monday-Thursday, where people with disabilities can meet each other. Where necessary, their carers or family members also come to ensure that their needs are met. About 50 people attend Phab on an average week, and this number is increasing, demonstrating a growing need for this service.

The centre is run by a staff of four, assisted by a core of two volunteers. They have grant funding from RBC and Members are charged £12 per session to attend, leaving a short-fall in our running costs of £5 which is covered by fund-raising, donations and other grants.
The Phab centre offers a large, light-filled area where most of the activities are carried out. These include the learning of computer skills, arts and crafts, sports such as pool and table tennis, cookery classes and various games. Through large glass doors you can access a terrace where plants spill from their pots, herbs are grown and gardening is encouraged. Beyond that lies a basketball court. A recently refurbished sensory room provides a space full of colour and light, sound and things to touch, where members can ‘chill out’. The choice of all activities lies with the individual member.

Phab organises local outings, such as visits to Reading Museum or to the Adapted Cycling at Palmer Park. The Saturday Junior “bPhab” Club offers similar activities to children, many of whom will come with siblings.

Anna Smy, who started as a volunteer, offered herself as a trustee as the charity grew and, with it, the need for more trustees. She first became aware of the charity as a child when her brother attended a Phab Club near where they lived. Anna also works for the local authority, which she finds very helpful when, as a trustee, she has dealings with it! She has been running the Saturday Junior Club for the last three years, having been involved with it for the past 14 years.

I asked Anna how much time being a trustee entailed and she told me that they meet once a month – the existing trustees put in an average of three hours a week. Anna emphasises that becoming a trustee not only offers the opportunity of maintaining existing skills, but also the possibility of learning new ones. She says that she gains great satisfaction in the knowledge that she is supporting an organisation that benefits not only its Members but also their families. She has even persuaded her husband to help out!

Read more about the trustee vacancies at Berkshire Phab:

For a trustee application form, please contact Anna Smy, at

Further information about Berkshire Phab