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Jobs from the Reach files - 19

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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

A career change for Chris

Chris Sullivan, from Kingston, Surrey, is finding her new job with Marie Curie Cancer Care a refreshing change after 20 years in the Civil Service. Chris had worked as a Systems and Database administrator for the Department of Transport, Environment and the Regions. When she took voluntary redundancy, she set her sights on working in the voluntary sector.

Chris’s previous experience as a volunteer had been in fundraising for several charities, but on retirement she wanted to do something different. Her first move was to contact REACH, the charity that finds voluntary work for professional people that makes the best use of their skills. They promised to help expand her experience.

REACH first placed Chris with the National Missing Persons Helpline where she rationalised their fundraising databases, working from their office and also from home.  

“It is a marvellous organisation and the people were great,” she says. “I enjoyed being there and they look after all their volunteers well. They gave us coffee and lunch and paid our fares, which is important when you don’t have a salary coming in.”

Her next REACH placement was with ZWIN (Zero Waste Initiative), part of the Richmond Environmental Information centre (REIC) in Twickenham. This project was set up to encourage energy efficiency. It offers small businesses help in reducing their energy costs through improving their environmental performance by reducing avoidable waste. Chris set up an information database giving the details of the free assessment visits that ZWIN makes to local businesses. She also designed an information leaflet on energy efficiency to accompany ZWIN’s information pack. 

She is very enthusiastic about ZWIN’s work. “If every business and every home really concentrated on energy saving and recycling there could be huge benefits to our environment and the economy.”

Chris now has a full-time salaried post with Marie Curie Cancer Care as the Systems Administrator for their direct marketing and finance databases. She continues to work for ZWIN, too, and is also thinking of looking for another REACH placement. For Chris, a change is even better than a rest. 

For information on getting voluntary work through REACH contact 020 7582 6543 website:        

 For ZWIN call 020 8892 0329 or E-mail

For Marie Curie Cancer Care contact 020 7399 7777 website:

For the National Missing Persons Helpline contact 020 8392 4510 website: 

For further information about REACH: telephone local area manager Freddy Clarke on 01235 833 298 or REACH HQ on 020 7582 6543: 

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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