Les Punton - Secretary Role: SecretaryAppointed: 25/10/2011 Profession/Status:NVQ Assessor, Derwentside College, Durham Profile:Les is responsible for the delivery of QCF framework Apprenticeships in the Health and Social Care sector, delivering the Diploma levels 2, 3 and Management qualification, delivering the TEC CERT qualification, Key skills A.O.N. and Communication and Employees Rights and Responsibilities. Les also worked as a Basic Skills Care Assistant (Voluntary) at St Georges Hospital, Morpeth. Les worked as a retained fire fighter (1999 – 2001) and provided first response emergency assistance to fires, road traffic accidents and chemical incidents within the Northumberland County. Durham County Council Children’s Home Lay Inspector (voluntary) 1989 to 1992. He has also worked as a labourer, welder and cleaner. Interview with... Les How long have you been a trustee for DASH and what caused you to become involved? I have been a trustee for 10 years. I got involved with DASH as I was the trainer / assessor for DASH staff and decided to become a trustee so I could help to make a difference for those less fortunate than myself. What does the DASH Management Committee do? As a trustee on the DASH management committee we make decisions effecting the way DASH is run. We decide on policy and procedures, make decisions regarding funding and finance and support the management team and staff to carry out their vital work supporting the service users. What is your role and what does it involve? My role within DASH - I am the secretary for the management committee. My role involves taking the minutes for the committee meetings, taking part in decision making discussions and carrying out appraisals for the DASH managers. I am the lead Lecturer for Health and Social Care at Derwentside College. Myself and my team carry out training for DASH staff. What do you like most about your role? As a trustee I enjoy developing plans and policies which helps DASH to move forward as a front line provider of essential services for people with housing issues. What are the most challenging parts of the role? The most challenging part of the role of trustee is ensuring funding is available so that the essential services provided by DASH can continue. What positives and challenges do you see for DASH in the current economic and political climate? The government’s recent cutbacks in social welfare has had a knock on effect for the most vulnerable in our society which has highlighted the importance DASH’s provision of services. Austerity measures have also had an impact on funding DASH receives which is challenging. On a positive note, It is rewarding to see residents who are helped by DASH move on with their lives.