Speak to a trained member of the Mermaids team. 08088010400

We’re Mermaids.

We’ve been supporting trans, non-binary and gender-questioning children and young people and the important people in their lives since 1995.

Back then, we were a small group of concerned parents sitting around the kitchen table, coming together to share experiences, find answers and look for ways to keep our children safe and happy.

Today, we’re one of the UK’s leading trans-focused charities. We provide services directly to trans children and young people, to families, and work to educate and inform professionals and organisations who want to be part of a society where trans children and young people are safe, included and empowered to be their best selves. We also campaign for the things that matter most to trans children and young people.

Over the years, we’ve seen many changes in the language and understanding surrounding gender issues but one thing remains the same: transgender, non-binary and gender-diverse children deserve the freedom and confidence to explore their gender identity wherever their journey takes them, free from fear, isolation and discrimination.

Our work

Mermaids supports transgender, non-binary and gender-diverse children and young people, as well as their families and professionals involved in their care.

Transgender, non-binary and gender-diverse children and teens need support and understanding, as well as the freedom to explore their gender identity. Whatever the outcome, Mermaids is committed to helping families navigate the challenges they may face.

Our support…

  • Reduces isolation and loneliness for transgender, non-binary and gender-diverse children, young people and their families.
  • Provides families and young people with the tools they need to negotiate education and health services.
  • Helps young people to cope better with mental and emotional distress, and equips their parents with what they need to offer individual support.
  • Improves the self-esteem and social skills of children and young people.
  • Improves awareness, understanding and practices of teachers, GP’s, CAMHS, Social Services and other professionals.

Trustees and governance

How our charity is governed

The Board of Trustees governs a charity and assumes responsibility for all aspects of the charity’s work.

Governance is a responsibility of the Board of Trustees, but the board relies on many people to govern the organisation well. This includes:

  •  Staff
  •  Volunteers
  • Advisors
  • Subcommittees
  • Other key stakeholders

The Charity Commission regulates all charities in England and Wales.

Our trustees

Mermaids’ board is made up of trustees who bring a mix of lived and professional experience of the issues affecting trans youth, and of charity governance.  

This includes:

  • Trans people: The board is dedicated to maximising representation, ensuring that at least 50% of trustees are trans or non-binary.
  • Parents of trans young people.
  • People with professional experience in People and Culture, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Finance, Safeguarding and Data Protection. 

Our board meets four to six times yearly online in the evenings to maximise accessibility. All of the Directors attend our board meetings. Mermaids’ board has three subcommittees most of which meet three to four times per year. These cover specialist areas of People and Culture, Finance, Audit and Risk and Safeguarding.

What are trustees?

Trustees are the people who make decisions on behalf of the charity. Trustees must act collectively. They have no authority to act on their own unless this has been authorised by the board as a whole. 

Depending on the charity’s governing document and the board’s structure, individuals elect or appoint trustees.

Trustees are nearly always volunteers and aren’t paid for their roles. Most people can become trustees. Trustees usually need to be over the age of 18 or over 16 if the charity is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (which Mermaids is). Trustees cannot have been previously disqualified as a trustee or company director, be an undischarged bankrupt or have certain criminal convictions.

How youth voice shapes our charity’s governance

One of our strategic priorities is to put trans children and young people’s voices at the centre of everything we do. This includes our governance. 

We have young trans and non-binary trustees whose extensive lived experience and professional skills enrich Mermaids’ governance.

Youth Advisory Panel

Mermaids Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) was formed in October 2022. The panel was created to centre youth voice and experience in all areas of Mermaids’ work. 

12 young people from the trans community were recruited and interviewed to be part of the first YAP cohort, to discuss Mermaids’ services and provide recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

The panel has evolved over the last year, meeting every few weeks rather than every quarter, and has taken on exciting opportunities beyond advising on Mermaids’ governance, including meeting with the UN Expert on Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity to talk about their experience of being a trans young person in the UK and visiting parliament to discuss trans rights. YAP members have also shared their experiences on social media and in legacy media. 

The panel has also begun to foster a deeper relationship with the Mermaids’ Board of Trustees and the Senior Management Team to better centre and embed the voices of young people within the charity.

How we make decisions at Mermaids

Mermaids makes decisions in accordance with its Decision Making Framework and Delegation of Authority, which the board of trustees approves, granting authority at every level. 

Managers, operational team members, directors, and the CEO primarily make decisions at Mermaids, while the board of trustees handles strategic and highly significant decisions.

When making decisions, individuals at Mermaids ensure they involve those affected by the decisions, including children and young people. If they can’t involve them they should document this and discuss it with their managers.

Involvement can take many forms, including:

•       Consulting through emails and meetings.

•       Creating joint working groups and project groups.

•       Polls, surveys and focus groups.

•       Working with our trade union and staff networks.