We caught up with Tracey Hart, our Chair of Trustees, to find out more about how and why she decided to join CAfS in the fight against the climate crisis.


Where did you first hear about CAfS?

I first came across CAfS through its “Green Build Festival” – an annual fortnight of visits, talks and training events focusing on sustainability in the built environment, a topic very close to my heart. I was in the process of breathing new life into an old and unloved farmhouse tucked away in the Far Eastern Fells of the Lake District, so I decided to take part by hosting visits, during and after the build.

What made you decide to become a trustee?

Through taking part in the festival, I came to realise how fantastic the team at CAfS are, and wanted to do more to help them achieve their goals. When the newsletter landed with a call for trustees to join the charity’s board I jumped at the chance, and although I hadn’t been a trustee or on a board of directors before, I hoped my skills as a low carbon architect in a commercial practice and my passion for sustainability would be useful to the team.

What was it like when you started as a trustee?

When I was invited to join the board I was one of four new trustees from varied backgrounds such as social impact, corporate project management, and psychology, but what we had in common was that we were all new to being a trustee, and we all felt passionately about fighting the causes of climate change and making people’s lives better. We had an illuminating day of training to get us up to speed with our new role, then rolled our sleeves up and – along with the existing members of the board – got stuck in.

What has challenged you in this role?

There have been many challenges, not least in navigating the pandemic, but the way members of the board approach those challenges with open minds, willingness to debate and utmost respect for each other has been incredibly rewarding. Our relationship as a board with Karen, our CEO, is absolutely key to the success of the team. That’s not to say that we all see eye to eye on everything, and definitely can’t be accused of ‘groupthink’, but all opinions and ideas are welcomed. A sense of humour also helps!

How has this role helped you grow professionally?

An added benefit for me has been in developing skills beyond my own profession, such as in strategic governance. Also, getting involved in the Zero Carbon Cumbria Buildings Emission Reduction Action Plan has ultimately led to a new and exciting change in my career, even at my advanced stage!

Do you have any advice for anybody who is interested in becoming a CAfS trustee?

Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the CAfS team, including my fellow trustees, for making this role so fulfilling. If you’re unsure if you’d enjoy being a trustee, I say give it a try, you may be surprised.


If you are interested in joining our board of trustees, you can find out more about the role and apply here.