Trustee Spotlight: Karl Downes

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m Sheffield born and bred and love my city with a passion.  I’ve been married to my beautiful wife for 36 years and have two lovely girls, our 23 year old is an early years school teacher and our 21 year old is just about complete her final year at Sheffield Hallam university.

I left school at 17 and got a job at The British Steel Coking works at Orgreave, starting in the offices as a timekeeper. I then worked for a short time in the payroll dept and the finally went into accounting, at first as a cost accountant and then progressing to the Works accountant. I worked for 13 years at the Orgreave site until its closure in 1990.

I was then given the opportunity to relocate to the Scunthorpe site, which I took and stayed there for 8 years working as a Management accountant. Daily travelling to Scunthorpe from Rotherham took its toll and in 1998 I took the chance to obtain a transfer to the Rotherham and Stocksbridge sites.

I finally left the steel industry after 34 years in 2013 and took the chance to work at my local church within the finance function and I’m loving my current role.

I played football in the Yorkshire area for 20 years at varying levels and when I finished playing at the age of 38, I turned my attention to playing Golf and watching Sheffield United.

I love caravan breaks, which enable me to spend relaxing time with my wife and family.  My favourite overseas holiday destinations are the Greek islands and Menorca, one of the Balearic islands.  

Why are you a trustee?

Five years ago I was asked by the then CEO to come along in an advisory capacity to view some perspective offices, to see if they were fit for purpose. I knew a little bit about City Hearts and was happy to go.

During the visit I met a few of the management team and saw first hand the passion and desire to make a difference in the lives of survivors of human trafficking.

From then on in the back of my mind I felt a real desire to get involved with the charity, even if it was just as a financial donor. Then, a few weeks later after the office visit, I was approached and invited to join the board of trustees.

I jumped at the chance to be involved in changing and bettering peoples lives. and It’s been an amazing journey, with no regrets, ever since.

What are you most excited about this year for City Hearts?

I was so excited when we were given the anti trafficking contract for another term, the charity has grown not only in size but in influence in our area of expertise. I’m really enjoying working with all the other trustees

The charitable sector is an ever changing sphere of people in need and I feel we have a real part to play in making a difference to the people we support.