Thank you, Alasdair

11 January 2024

After three years of loyal service to our Foundation, it’s with a heavy heart that we’re saying goodbye to our fantastic Trustee, Alasdair Gardner.

Alasdair joined the Bank of Scotland in 1987, first starting out as a Trustee for the Scotland Foundation in 2010 before making the leap to the Channel Islands in 2020. In the years that he’s been sitting on the board of both Foundations, Alasdair’s positivity and passion to make a change in his communities has been felt not just by us, but also by the numerous charities he has supported along the way.

We caught up with Alasdair to reminisce on his journey as a Trustee.

Can you describe your journey and contributions during your time as a Trustee?

I became a Trustee for Lloyds Bank Foundation when I was appointed as Islands Director. Having already sat on the board for the Bank of Scotland Foundation, I knew the force for good that I, and all the other Trustees, could be by being part of the Foundation. I wasn’t ready to give that up when I moved from Scotland to the Channel Islands.

I also knew that the role I played by being part of the board and the mission we were on, could be fed into the Bank and shared with my peers. I could be the voice of the Foundation, spreading the word about the good that the Bank and the Foundation does, as well as encouraging my colleagues to volunteer and raise money themselves.

Throughout my time on the board, I’ve been extremely proud to be part of such crucial change for so many of the charities we support, and not just through funding. I’ve also seen the impact our developmental support can have, such as mentoring. Knowing that I work for a business and contributed to a Foundation that have both made such significant changes to so many people has been really rewarding.

What motivated you to become a Trustee in the first place?

It’s important in our society that we ensure those who need support, get support, especially as times get tougher and tougher. The Foundation is a wonderful way of doing that; the support that it gives to the charities and those they support is vital. I wanted to add value to that.

How did the Foundation’s endeavours keep you engaged throughout your tenure?

For me, it was by seeing with my own eyes the work that’s done by the charities we support. Every time I visited and saw the difference the charities made; it reinforced exactly why I was doing what I was doing.
When you visit the charities, it’s humbling to see what the volunteers and charity workers do and the challenges they face. The overriding memory that I will take with me from my time on the board is how grateful they are for support.

What specific achievements or projects are you most proud of during your time on the Board?

It has to be seeing how the number of mentors we have has grown. The Foundation’s value is not only recognised by the charities we support, but also by our colleagues at the Bank. They want to know how they can support others and make a difference too. Our mentors are a guiding light for so many of our charity partners who need a helping hand with skillsets or expertise that they currently don’t have in house.

As you reflect on your term, can you share any challenges you’ve encountered? How did you help the organisation navigate them?

COVID-19 was one of the biggest challenges, and the knock-on effects are still being seen. There’s more demand than ever for charity support and it’s up to us as a Foundation to identify the best use of scarce resources. This can be incredibly challenging, as you want to support everyone but unfortunately, it isn’t always possible.

What key lessons have you learned as a Trustee?

There have been a couple of key learnings for me. Firstly, the breadth and knowledge of different trustees across different locations, experience, and sectors is so powerful. Without a diverse mix of people, the Foundation – as with any other business or organisation – cannot thrive in the way that it does today.

Secondly, I’ve also learned how people want to make a difference, and the amount of goodness that there is in society. Sometimes we can all get a bit cynical in this world, but there are so many people doing great things and striving for the best.

What’s next for you?

I don’t know what the next journey is in all honestly. I’ll be going back to the UK at the end of the year, and we’ll take it from there.

Lastly, how do you plan to stay connected with the organisation and its mission, even after leaving the Board of Trustees?

I will be watching the Foundation from afar, through social media and through my contacts. The Foundation holds a special place in my heart, and I know it’ll keep going from strength to strength.

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