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Planning Retirement Online

Jobs from the Reach files

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In this regular series Olive Braman tells how volunteers can use their skills and expertise through REACH, the charity that places professional and business people in part time voluntary jobs

You can find all the Jobs From the REACH Files articles from the Volunteering Index

Seventeen years ago, when Ken Ross of North London, was sixty, his doctors told him that he should spend the rest of his life sitting in an armchair. Ill-health had forced him to close his engineering business and the future didn’t look too good.

His doctors should see him now! At seventy seven, Ken is working four hours a day, five days a week for Community Service Volunteers. He does publicity, report writing. He attends meetings and does admin – skills he learned as part of running his own business.

Ken got the work by contacting REACH, the charity that offers a free UK-wide job-finding service to volunteers with management and professional skills with voluntary organisations needing their help. The jobs are normally part-time, local and pay only expenses.

REACH recruits people who have time to offer, whether they are retired, still working, between jobs or taking a career break. A team of "matchers" ensures that the jobs on offer are suited to the talents and experience of the volunteers. The match doesn’t have to be a follow-on of professional skills. Ken, for instance, is not working as an engineer, but is using his managerial experience.

Over 10000 placements have been made since REACH was launched twenty years ago. The job-matching covers a wide range of services and professions - training, counselling, welfare, children, disability, health, the arts, emergency services and others. The volunteers' backgrounds include such areas as accountancy, financial services, marketing, PR, engineering, law, medicine, teaching, journalism, sales, social work and even airline pilots.

"It is a simple fact that most over fifties have abundant energy and enthusiasm which, combined with their qualifications, skills and life experience, makes them a huge asset to any voluntary organisation," says Sue Evans, Director of REACH. "We estimate that the 800 placements which we made last year is equivalent to injecting at least 9,000,000 of expertise per annum into the voluntary sector.

"Volunteers can choose the work pattern which suits their lifestyle, keep their career skills alive and enjoy being part of a working team doing something worthwhile. In voluntary work people are interested in what you can do - not how old you are."

Ken says,"I feel on top of the world. My life is extremely interesting because no two days are the same. I am grateful to REACH because they sent me to the one place that was just right for me."

REACH currently has around 2000 job vacancies on its register so there is a very good chance that applicants will find a position which will makes full use of their individual skills. There are no age limits.
The average age of REACH volunteers is 57.

For further information please call REACH on 020 7582 6543: e-mail website

Look out for future features from Olive Braman on Jobs From The REACH Files or view all the REACH Files Articles from our Volunteering Index



laterlife interest

The above article is part of the features section of called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

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