Garry Poulson to retire as Director of Volunteer Centre West Berkshire after 25 years

Thanks to Garry Poulson for sharing with us his 18 January 2024 letter to colleagues about his decision to retire as Director of the Volunteer Centre West Berkshire on 28 March 2024.

Dear Colleagues,

I write to inform you that I have decided to retire. As most of you know I have been the Director of the then Volunteer Bureau since September 1998. During the past 25 years I have managed to take the charity forward in several new directions and hopefully  have succeeded in maintaining the integrity of the charity without mission drift – so, in some ways kept things the same, particularly with recruitment services and the very important transport services (a few more vehicles now and rather more recruitment in many more ways). Seven years ago taking on the Council for Voluntary Service role was a major milestone and that has become a key and vital element of our work: that is to say, assisting other voluntary organisations.

During my  tenure the charity won the Queens Award for Voluntary Service, achieved the best recruitment results in England, formed the Covid Response Hub, ran 23 recruitment events and many other initiatives such as establishing the Patient Information Point and winning an award for innovation.

My decision has also been taken at a time when the charity is in good shape in terms of its staff team and also with the partnerships that are in place, which will ensure that my successor will be able to move the charity forward with confidence.

I value the relationship I have had with you for all of that time and I have forged many long lasting relationships and friendships too through our work together. Suffice to say many of you have played a great part in what has been achieved and continues to be achieved by the charity.

As a volunteer I will continue to Chair the suicide prevention action group as its chairman for the charity. I have other external interests in the community as a volunteer which will not be affected.

Thank you each and everyone of you for your help, friendship and continued support. I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life and I hope you remain part of my life story. In the meantime I shall remain at the helm until 28 March.

This morning I received these kind words from Brien Beharrell, our Chairman of Trustees, and she has specifically asked me to include them with my letter to you.


From the trustees:

If ever there was an in-built gene that engendered the spirit of volunteering then one would surely be found in Garry, someone who typifies that very special quality which motivates people to spend their time for the good and benefit of others.

Whether at work or in his leisure time, Garry personifies the very best of volunteering here in West Berkshire.

As Director he has led the Volunteer Centre West Berkshire for the past 25 years, a remarkable career achievement in itself, and during that time the charity has celebrated successes and responded to new challenges in equal measure.

Over the years, his work and guidance has established the Volunteer Centre as a much-respected charity for the valued and varied services it provides directly to local people. His long-experience of volunteering has also established him as the go-to counsellor and advocate for all who are involved in the voluntary sector more widely in West Berkshire.

The Trustees offer their heartfelt and sincere thanks to Garry for all that he has done, and has achieved, on behalf of the Volunteer Centre over the years. While he steps away from his demanding full-time role as VCWB Director we know that he will continue to be a very special part of our volunteering community here in Newbury, not least as he continues his chairmanship of the West Berkshire Suicide Prevention Action Group, and will also be with us to help celebrate an important milestone in VCWB’s history, its fiftieth anniversary this year.

Brien Beharrell
Chair of VCWB Trustees, on behalf of the Board of Trustees.


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