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Jobs from the Reach files - 17

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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

How John regained his life

John Duck from Lincolnshire, is convinced that voluntary work has given him back his life. John suffered three strokes which left him with memory loss and brain damage. He was unable to work, and suffered mobility problems and depression. His doctor suggested that although he could no longer hold down a full-time job, becoming a volunteer might be beneficial.

John applied to REACH, the charity which places professional people with voluntary organisations which will make the best use of their skills. As John had always worked in insurance and finance, REACH suggested that he might become a welfare assessor with the National Grocers Benevolent Fund (NGBF).

NGBF helps people with financial problems who have worked in the food and drink trade. John looks after beneficiaries in his area by visiting them in their homes, seeing what they need and that they are getting the right benefits. He is also the Volunteer Coordinator helping to recruit more volunteers.

It is very satisfying to be doing something useful. It is also nice that I can switch off when I get home, unlike salaried work where you can keep on worrying about the problems “I really enjoy it,” he says.  ‘My strokes left me almost a “cabbage”, but REACH helped me find voluntary work which suited me and I am sure it has helped to repair some of the damage done by the strokes. I get great pleasure from the people you have to deal with.”

Sue Beaumont is the Director of Welfare for NGBF. She says: “ John’s experience and knowledge are of great value to us. We depend greatly on our volunteers, they are our life blood.”

Much of John’s work is done from home but he travels as far afield as Grimsby to visit his beneficiaries. He is also a REACH volunteer with the Prince’s Trust as an advisor to Sarah Frith, age 22, who has set up her own theatre school teaching dance and stage craft in Market Rasen. 

“I helped Sarah set up her accounts and I try to boost her confidence,” he says. “Her school is going really well. It’s giving children an outlet for their skills and helps build their self confidence”

Sarah says that John is a godsend. “I owe thanks to him for the school’s success. He has been  wonderful in helping me sort out the finances and as well as having all this expertise at his fingertips he is such an easy person to talk to. Now he’s helping me plan my show at Market Rasen’s Festival Hall for next July.”

REACH HQ can be contacted by telephone on 020 7582 6543 or see their website

NGBF telephone 0125 251 5946

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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