Ever wondered what being a trustee is all about? One of Cens’s trustees, Ray Ricks shares his experiences, thoughts and advice for anyone thinking about stepping into this charity role.

How long have you been a Trustee and what made you choose CENS?

I have been a trustee for eight years now, My employers chose CENS as their Charity of the Year and through collaborative work, I formed a strong impression of CENS. I admired the way they functioned and in particular I noticed the dedication of the staff.

What do you enjoy most about your role and what are the challenges?

I enjoy seeking to make a difference, however modest. The main challenge is remaining patient, as things can sometimes take time to resolve.

What has been your most memorable moment as a Trustee?

There isn’t one moment in particular that stands out. However, it is always good to hear of former residents moving forward and regaining their role in life.

What qualities do you think a Trustee needs to possess?

Common sense definitely. Also, the ability to work as a team, and of course, understanding the general issues facing homeless people.

How much time does your role as a Trustee take up and what have you learned from your experience?

It fluctuates. Sometimes it can be quite absorbing and at other times things just move along smoothly. Since becoming a Trustee at CENS, I have gained a greater understanding of the agencies involved with homelessness.

How has CENS developed since you joined the team and what major challenges does the charity face?

The issues remain unchanged, but the major challenge we face right now is funding.

What changes would you like to see at CENS in order to improve the service you offer?

It remains important to secure and maintain funding and sponsorship to enable broader/specialist staff recruitment. We are also looking for new Trustees.

What do you see as the main causes of homelessness in the UK?

Although improvements in the social benefits system could help ease homelessness, so long as there are cases of family abuse and mental health issues, it will always be present.

Which 3 words sum up your Trustee experience?

Understanding. Ideas. Action.


As we develop and expand, we are looking for new Trustees to join our team. To find out more about becoming a CENS Trustee, you can contact Alison Lovesee at alison.lovesee@colchesternightshelter.org.uk for an informal chat or to request a Role Description.

CENS Essential Shopping List

  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • Hot chocolate
  • UHT milk
  • Squash
  • Vgetable oil
  • Gravy granules
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salt & pepper
  • Stock cubes
  • Herbs and spices
  • Tinned fruit
  • Tinned/packet custard
  • Baked beans
  • Tinned tuna
  • Tinned vegetables & potatoes
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Kidney beans
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Jam, peanut butter, chocolate spread
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Men & women’s deodorant
  • Men’s razors
  • Shave gel
  • Shower gel
  • Toothpaste
  • Cloths
  • Scourers
  • Washing up liquid
  • Surface cleaners
  • Floor cleaner
  • Bleach
  • Bathroom cleaners
  • Bin bags
  • Food caddy liners
  • Loo roll
  • Washing tablets
  • AA batteries
  • NEW single duvets
  • Pillows/pillowcases
  • Single duvet covers/sheets
  • Clean/good condition towels

Please no soups!
Thank you