Why I became an appointed partner governor at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

Jack Wilson profile picture

27 November 2023

Jack Wilson
Appointed Partner Governor
North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

What initially motivated you to become a governor? 

When I started secondary school, I experienced severe bullying and so I accessed the Children and Young People's Services which was ran by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW) now known as Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW).

I came across a charity called YoungMinds where I started volunteering and became the anti-bullying ambassador. I then met a member of the NTW's corporate affairs team at a World Mental Health Day event who discussed the opportunities of membership and becoming a governor.

At the time I was too young to stand for election, however I did sign up as a member as I was unaware of NHS foundation trust membership and that I could get involved in helping shape the services provided. Just before I turned 16 the team then got in touch, I submitted my nomination and was successfully elected. 

How long have you been a governor?

I was a governor for six years and then in June 2023 I became an appointed partner governor at North Cumbria Integrated Care (NCIC) NHS Foundation Trust representing CNTW.

What life experiences have you had that were relevant to the governor role?

One of the best experiences I have had was attending the Governor Focus conference ran by NHS Providers, most recently this year when CNTW was one of the showcase winners. The showcase highlighted my experience as a governor; moving from service user, member, and governor and leading to my employment in the corporate affairs team supporting the council of governors (CoG).

Having the opportunity to attend national events, meeting other governors, networking, and hearing other people's passions and experiences has really helped to build my confidence and skills as a governor.

What do you think is the most important role a governor plays?

There are so many different roles that a governor plays, from the recruitment of non-executive directors (NEDs) and the chair, to holding them to account. However, I think the most important thing is your connection, engagement and experience within your constituency and the wider community.

What is your view on the importance of training, skills development and wider support for governors? Describe your personal experience of these and if they helped

Becoming a governor at the age of 16 was terrifying, I was still getting treatment, I was just about to undergo my GCSEs and I was starting a new chapter being part of the NHS. However, I knew I had the support in this role, not just from family and friends but the corporate affairs team and of course the wider council.

As time progressed and I started to feel more confident, the training that is provided through the trust's inductions, governor development/engagement sessions and the NHS Providers' GovernWell programme has really helped to develop my skills and abilities.

Tell us about any groups/committees/specific roles you have had and how you felt this added value?

I had the honour of being chosen to join the nominations committee where I got to experience the recruitment, shortlisting and interview processes for NEDs. This truly gave me a sense of pride knowing that they had selected me to take up one of these very important roles.

Do you have any examples of any impact you feel you/your CoG have made?

I think being a governor adds so much value not just to the foundation trust but to the individual governor themselves. It helped me to decide that I wanted to work within the NHS. Just because a governor's term of office ends, it doesn't mean they don't have any more views or experience to give.

What do you enjoy most about being a governor?

I enjoy the difference I can make as a governor while making sure I am engaging with the public, our partners and stakeholders to make a sustainable and highly regarded health system, ensuring that the high-quality patient care is directly influenced by the people who receive it and the wider communities.

Any top tips from your experience/insights for new governors?

Go for it. I took a leap, and I thought I was way out of my depth however with the support, development and opportunities I am happily employed in a full-time role within the NHS, all made possible with my governor experience. Before the role I was at a dead-end with what I wanted to do, but sometimes it takes that one spark of passion to kick-start the rest of your life.

About the author

Jack Wilson profile picture

Jack Wilson
Appointed Partner Governor

Jack Wilson is currently an appointed partner governor at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust representing Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.

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