Meet our Trustee Hugo Sintes
With experience of supporting communities all around the world, Hugo joined us in 2021 and sits on our Grants & Partnership Committee.
Trustee of Hammersmith United Charities, Hugo Sintes, is currently Director of Corporate Partnerships at The Big Issue Foundation. He has 20 years of experience supporting small businesses and local communities in different parts of the world from Africa to Latin America.
As well as being a trustee, what do you currently do?
I have spent the last 20 years or so supporting small businesses and local communities in different parts of the world, first with Oxfam in Africa and Latin America, and most recently with various housing associations in different parts of the UK. My current job is with The Big Issue Foundation. As their Director of Corporate Partnerships, I work with companies that will support our mission, which is to enable vendors, typically people who have experienced homelessness, rebuild their lives by selling the magazine and developing new skills and local connections.
What is your connection to Hammersmith?
I grew up in Spain, but came to the UK to study in 2001 and have lived in Shepherd’s Bush for most of that time since. My partner and I love it here, and we connect with our community in different ways, through the local schools that our kids attend, local associations, sports, and restaurants! We love the buzz and diversity that Hammersmith offers.
Can you tell us why you decided to become a trustee in your local area?
I wanted to know more about my community and try to use my experience and skills to give something back. It’s also an opportunity to gain new skills and grow professionally.
Since joining Hammersmith United Charities, what’s something you found out about the area?
I’ve loved visiting and meeting residents in our two almshouses. More generally, I’ve been impressed with how many people and organisations try to support Hammersmith to be a vibrant and inclusive place to live.
What do you see in the future for the Hammersmith community?
I love it when communities build links and bridges, and businesses and people with different talents join in to help. There’s a lot of that in Hammersmith, and since joining HUC, I’ve seen a lot more than I knew existed! This gives me hope we have strong values and skills at hand. The expert advice provided by organisations such as H&F Law Centre, Citizens Advice or Crosslight is essential, and initiatives such as Barons Court Project and the Upper Room key for people at risk of homelessness. Also, H&F Giving is helping build even stronger connections and support in our community. There’s a long way to go still, but I think Hammersmith can become an example for London and the whole country, and I’m proud to be part of Hammersmith United Charities as we try to do our bit.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
When the working day is over, I spend time with my kids, but I would not call that relaxing! When I am on holidays, I love listening to the sound of the sea. I’d advise anyone to sit in a garden or park nearby and watch and listen to nature. At Hammersmith United Charities, we believe the gardens in our almshouses are very important to our residents. My two boys and I love playing football. They train on Saturday with a club in White City and you’ll see us often in any of the local parks kicking a ball. I grew up in Minorca, and we also love going back whenever it’s possible to see my family.
What is your favourite book or film?
I’ll watch any James Bond movie and re-read Tintin and Asterix comics in any new language I’m trying to learn! I also enjoy listening to music.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to become a trustee for a local organisation?
My advice is that you research organisations which work on topics that matter to you, then write to them to ask how you can help, it might be as a trustee, or in other ways.