Paul Staples - Trustee & Treasurer

I'd been looking for a trustee role for some time but hadn't found the right organisation. Then, my wife who was working at the time with Rachel the Chair of the Board, told me about the Choir with No Name and that they were looking for a new trustee to be the treasurer…

I met Marie for the first time in Autumn 2011. Having not been a trustee before, I wasn't really sure what to expect. But, very quickly I realised that I had the chance to be part of something special and unique. Marie's passion for CWNN came across instantly and I loved the idea of using music to build confidence and bring happiness where previously it might have been absent or rarely felt. Before I joined the board, Marie invited me along to a rehearsal in King's Cross. Sitting on the sidelines wasn't really an option. My singing is usually isolated to the shower so it got me out of my comfort zone! That evening it was great to meet some of the members and get a real feel for the choir. Shortly afterwards, I joined the board. Personally, I'm still learning about the complexities of homelessness and the root causes (which are numerous) and it's very clear to me how our choirs play an important role in trying to resolve these inequalities.

Since Marie started CWNN in 2008, a great deal has been achieved. But we also have big plans for the future including setting up five choirs around the country by 2015. There are exciting times ahead, but the organisation needs to ensure it grows steadily in a measured way. This is where I felt I could really make a difference by being on the board. Monday to Friday I work for a large accountancy practice. For most people, this conjures up the image of someone sitting at a desk in a grey suit staring at a long list of numbers. In fact, most of my time is spent talking with people, understanding their business and discussing the different types of risks and challenges the business faces. So, one of my personal objectives as a trustee is to apply that experience to CWNN. What that means in practice is asking lots of questions and providing guidance to Marie and the team to ensure we have a smooth journey to achieving our long term ambitions and aspirations for the charity.

Since joining the board, I've moved to Bristol with my wife and new baby boy, although I regularly spend time in London. To me, somehow, homelessness in Bristol is more visible than in London. Perhaps this is because the pace of life in Bristol is slower which gives you more time to reflect on what's going on around you. Who knows, maybe we'll set up a Choir with No Name in Bristol over the coming years. You can certainly see the need for one.



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