A fond farewell to our Trustee John Baker
After nine years of invaluable service, John Baker’s term as a Trustee has come to an end. We asked about his time with the Fellowship.
"The Churchill Fellowship is a truly unique organisation in the way that it supports individual people to realise their ambitions." - John Baker, former Trustee
What have you enjoyed most about being a Trustee of the Fellowship?
Well, where do I start! I still cannot believe that I have been working with the Fellowship since 2012. I joined under the Chairmanship of Robert Fellowes. I have been fortunate to see how the Fellowship has given so many the opportunity to make a real difference. The Fellows are the inspiration and what they do inspires in so many ways – the ambition, the curiosity, the drive and the passion for their chosen areas of research. A high point of my time with the Fellowship has been attending the Award Ceremonies and being able to meet, speak to and hear directly from the Fellows. They are an antidote to cynicism about the world we live in and clearly demonstrate how committed people really can make a difference. I have had the privilege of working with wonderful people. My fellow Trustees: fun, engaged, committed, giving their time and knowledge to the charity. The Executive team led by Julia and, previously, Jamie: professional, compassionate and giving their absolute best all the time. The Council: innovative, challenging and very clever! There is a warmth to the Fellowship and its people that is attractive and positive. I am going to miss that.
How has the Fellowship changed in your time?
We have become more ambitious and that ambition has been focused on how we can provide more support to our Fellows and their goals, to achieve real and tangible change in their chosen areas. The Activate Fund, the Covid-19 Action Fund and our Partnerships are for me real highlights. The charity started in 1965 with the ambition of providing ‘chances of a lifetime’ to people from so many different backgrounds. Now we help our Fellows to realise real change, not just in their lives, but in the many lives that they touch, through their research and the subsequent real-life application of that research.
Where would you like to see us going next?
The Churchill Fellowship is a truly unique organisation in the way that it supports individual people to realise their ambitions. May this never change. The range of specialist areas that we support is also unique and special. I want to see the Fellowship build on these unique and fundamental foundations. I want to see us share research, create and support successful partnerships that share both the intellectual research and the cost of supporting the research. I would like to see the Fellowship involved in supporting, promoting and sharing research and crucially supporting the practical application of that research, with the real benefits that undoubtedly will come from each project and venture. I would like to see us coaching and encouraging our Fellows to go further and to use their learning and knowledge for as wide as possible applications.
What are your future plans?
Firstly, to stay in close touch with the Fellowship and the good friends I have made over the past 12 years. I am aiming to work with another charitable organisation. I have always been interested in the difference that educational opportunities can make to peoples’ lives and, as a result, the many people they will touch in their lives. Let’s see what comes along!
The views and opinions expressed by any Fellow are those of the Fellow and not of the Churchill Fellowship or its partners, which have no responsibility or liability for any part of them.