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Planning Retirement Online

Jobs from the Reach files - 12

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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


Alistair Kidney, from Ossett, West Yorkshire, spends much of his day doing homework. His heart and lung problems mean that he needs to be on an oxygen machine and is housebound.  But he nevertheless has an extremely busy schedule, studying with the Open University (OU) and doing voluntary work.

Alistair has a BA Hons. from the Open University  with whom he has been studying on and off since 1969. He is currently following a computer technology course  which, he ruefully admits, is a bit of a struggle.  “I can’t seem to get to grips with setting up my own web site but my tutor has been a huge help so I keep trying,” he says.

Last year, despite spending several weeks in hospital, Alistair became a REACH volunteer. REACH is the charity which finds voluntary work for professional people, and they found Alistair two treasurer’s posts.

He is now the divisional treasurer for the Castleford branch of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association  (SSAFA) and for the West Riding Voluntary Association for the Blind.

He says, “They drop the books off here and when the accounts are done, they collect them. I have always enjoyed working with figures and I get bored to tears with nothing to do. I also like to feel that I am giving something back to the community. It’s a very friendly arrangement.  My wife kindly helps out by banking cheques and posting my letters.”

The SSAFA post is particularly dear to Alistair’s heart as he was a  Sergeant in the Royal Army Pay Corps for 14 years. Following that he was a retail branch manager for W. H Smith and then their West London area auditor until ill health forced his retirement in 1990.  

“Alistair came to us like manna from heaven,” says Gerry Whiteley, SSAFA West Yorkshire Branch Secretary. “We desperately needed a treasurer and his army background and managerial experience made him ideal. It works marvellously- everything can be done by telephone and post, and he deals with the work quickly and easily. It’s ideal for him and ideal for us.”

Voluntary work obviously suits Alistair.  He has just asked REACH to find him a third treasurer’s job.

SSAFA looks after the welfare of Service and ex-service people and their families  by helping them to help themselves. It has over 7000 volunteers. For further details telephone 020 7463 9223; website:

West Riding Voluntary Association for the Blind: telephone 01924 215555

REACH London office:  Tel: 020 7582 6543.   email:               

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.

It includes both one off articles and also regular columns of a more specialist nature such as healthwisereports from the REACH files, and a beauty section called looking good in later life.

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