The National Forum supports the Board of Trustees and senior management team to deliver our charity’s overriding strategy. As well as working closely with our branches and services, the National Forum also represents the views of our members.
Arran Linton-Smith, who volunteers for the National Forum, shares some of his experiences of what it has involved.
How long have you been a member of the National Forum?
I have volunteered for the National Forum for just over six months but, prior to that, I had also been actively involved with The National Autistic Society as a member and volunteer. Even in the short period of time that I’ve worked on the Forum, I’ve learnt so much about the work of the charity and how it’s developing.
What were your reasons for joining the National Forum?
The National Autistic Society greatly helped me with my journey of discovery after my autism diagnosis four years ago and has continued to help me thrive and grow; I now want to give something back to help others like myself. I also strongly feel that it is in our interest that we have a strong national organisation which represents us.
I feel motivated to influence and drive change within the organisation, particularly on things which matter to our membership. The National Forum was an ideal opportunity for our charity to use my senior management talents and experience to develop, test and drive new projects within our organisation.
How often does the National Forum meet? What do the meetings involve?
The National Forum meets twice a year. Meetings usually involve an update on the various developments across the organisation and we also feedback about the various work streams which we have been tasked on. When we meet, it is also an opportunity to meet up and network with other diverse members of our charity who have been working on different projects.
Even though I live in Nottingham, I've been able to participate in all meetings that have taken place in London via a teleconference phone. The team have also kept me updated with reports and minutes of all our meetings.
Aaran is a keen cyclist and has done lots of fundraising for our charity through the sport.
What projects have you been working on recently, and what has this involved?
Because of my own fundraising experience, I specifically worked on the project considering fundraising for our UK branches. We’ve been examining various successful methods of fundraising and have identified grants which some of the branches might be able to apply for. We’ve also been discussing how we can utilise the experience of the fundraising team at our Head Office to support the development of branches.
What do you enjoy most about working on the National Forum?
Meeting completely different people with different interests and needs, who all share an interest in making The National Autistic Society a success and a great source of support for autistic people and their families.