John de la Cour - Chair of Trustees

I have been a Trustee of several causes such as Citizens Advice, Samaritans, Poverty Relief in Uganda, Hereford College of Arts and my local Choir. The key word here is Causes, and it gives huge satisfaction to lend one’s commitment, knowledge and experience to causes one believes in. This is particularly true of my current Trusteeship of Severn Arts where I am working with wonderful colleagues with a broad range of experiences.  

Having taken a deep breath, in June 2018 we assumed responsibility from the County Council for music education and arts development throughout Worcestershire. Starting a brand new charity from scratch brings its own challenges, but also very special rewards. We have been busy helping our excellent staff team to set up systems and develop policy. One of the most important challenges is to grow the organisation as a charitable business and we are well on the way.

Emma Whittle - Trustee

I’ve been a trustee with Severn Arts for almost three years and it continues to be an incredibly rewarding experience. Through my work as a cultural creator and producer I am passionate about making and sharing opportunities for everyone to experience the arts, and it is a privilege to play a small part in the brilliant and vital work that Severn Arts does across the county.  It’s also been a really valuable part of my career journey as I’ve gained experience in governance alongside a friendly and supportive team.  

Andy Watts - Trustee

I’ve lived in Worcester for 25 years. Thanks to the county music and arts service, my children learned instruments, played in ensembles, danced on stage, and grew up with a love of music and the arts that will stay with them throughout their lives. Oh, and I’m a professional musician and teacher, thanks to the wonderful music education (mostly free) that I received as a child and a young adult. So when Severn Arts was set up a couple of years ago to provide the best quality music and arts experience for the young people of Worcestershire I was bound to an enthusiastic supporter - but a trustee? I don’t have any business or legal experience. I struggle with figures. I only wear a suit at weddings! But what I do have is enthusiasm.

At board meetings I hope I can speak for the young people and their parents who use the services, as well as the musicians and teachers who work for Severn Arts. I know that charities always need more money, so I’ll help with fund-raising in any way I can. It’s great to be part of hard-working, dedicated, first-class team. My fellow trustees are friendly, welcoming and patient when I’m a bit slow to grasp the finer points of finance and governance. It’s been a privilege to meet the staff and teachers, and see the superb performances and art that the young people are producing.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a long career in music and this is my way of giving something back and, I hope, contributing to the future of music and the arts in Worcestershire and beyond. To anyone thinking of becoming a trustee, I’d say you need above all to be excited about what charity does. Charities are eager to embrace diversity, so whatever your background, you’ll have something to offer. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and remember that common sense goes a long way!

Give it a go - you won’t regret it.