NA MEMBERS passed a resolution to explore co-opting an under-35-year-old director on to its board at its annual conference last weekend. The motion, to recruit an extra director, aged under 35, was brought by London-based craft baker Christopher Freeman, who said he wanted to send a message to young members that they were the lifeblood of the NA.
He said: “We are a small organisation and we need to look to the future very hard.”
In the course of the debate, Tony Cavan suggested all directors’ stints on the board should be limited to three years, to create a market for the positions. And Henry Jefferies commented that if it is possible to get a man on the moon, then the NA should be able to get a younger director.
It was also suggested by members including Carol Gatto-Hall that younger members must be made more involved in the NA. Currently, they may be intimidated by their parents’ presence at NA meetings and might not feel comfortable next to established figures on the board, delegates suggested.
The motion was carried, and the Board will discuss the practicalities of implementing it – such as length of service and how to recruit – at its next meeting in July.
However, age discrimination in employment legislation, which comes into effect in October, may complicate the NA’s quest for a young director. The new regulations make it illegal to set age criteria in recruitment, promotion and training, unless it is a “proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”.