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1. Who are you and what did you do before you joined us at Crawley Open House as a trustee? 

My name is Clare Hiley. I am a retired teacher. I ran a support unit for dyslexic children for the last 20 years of my career. I haven’t quite managed to give up teaching as I teach a small group of children in my grandson’s class once a week and teach either  Maths or English in Open House most weeks.

2. How will you help our clients with the job experience in your current position? 

As a teacher I was involved in writing many policies so for the last few years I have been chair of the policies committee. I can support education and as R.E. Coordinator when working can advise on that as needed. As a retired person, I have more time available to help out as the need arises and find it valuable as a trustee to come in to support on a regular basis. 

3. Are you originally from Crawley? How did you hear about COH? 

I moved to Crawley from Bristol 38 years ago. I first heard about Crawley Open House when it was in West Green, and my daughter started volunteering there during her college holidays. She had been there a few weeks when she was offered a project worker's job. She worked there for many holidays so I was regularly updated and I became a regular supporter. 


4. Why choose to be a trustee at COH? 

When I retired, I didn’t want to sit around at home! I started as a volunteer in the kitchen. The director knew of my long involvement with Open House and asked me if I would consider becoming a trustee. He suggested that my teaching skills could be an asset to Open House.


5. What were some of your expectations before joining COH? 

Having worked in schools where some families struggled with life and living I heard many stories that were outside my life experiences. As I was able to help some of these families work through a few of these issues it helped me to realise that given the right help people’s life can be moved forward. As a trustee, I want to support an amazing facility that makes such a difference.


6. What are some of the goals you would like to achieve at COH? 

I am passionate about good education and I realise that a lot of our clients have various educational experiences, some good, some not so good. My first goal is to support the staff as they set up educational support. Having spoken about Open House in some schools I realise that some people have misunderstandings about homelessness and another goal is to develop a better understanding for children and adults. As a trustee, I feel that our integrity is crucial and I aim to uphold that and build our good name in the local communities I am involved in.


7. Like at any job, being a trustee at COH can become stressful sometimes, so what do you do for fun?  
Fun! I sing in a choir that raises money for charity ( it has chosen
Open House as its charity for the year). I spend time with my lovely grandchildren, visit the theatre, run 5k ( my children have signed me up to run 10k next year as a 70th birthday present!) . I also belong to a local church which has social activities along with the usual meet-ups.


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