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Jobs from the Reach files - 21

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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

Richard to the rescue

When Angela Stanforth, Director of Southwark Community Care Forum (SCCF) , took on Richard Portnoy to help them move offices she had no idea what a dynamo he would prove to be.

Southwark Community Care Forum had a bit of a problem on its hands. The organisation works with local voluntary organisations in Southwark, offering health and social care to children and families.

 It had benefited from a generous donation of office furniture by Citibank and was looking for ways to set up their new premises with the minimum of disruption to their task of helping people in Southwark.

 “To be frank we were a bit desperate,” says Angela. “We needed to move to as quickly as possible but we had nobody available to help and advise us.”

Angela applied to REACH, the charity which finds voluntary work for experienced managers and professionals, and they arranged for her to meet Richard Portnoy, formerly a project manager for Citibank, recently retired.

“He was just amazing. He re-organised our office space and, which was absolutely wonderful, he facilitated the donation of furniture and equipment from Citibank,” she said. “ It was like Christmas. I never dreamt that we would find ourselves with new furniture, screens and storage cupboards, or that he would give us so much more space as well as a good sized Resource Centre. Even our goldfish seems to have a smile on his face!”

Richard has a smile on his face too. He says, “I thoroughly enjoyed this project. I am very familiar with the problems involved in moving offices and the need to get it right. I knew that Citibank had surplus furniture and both they and Unique Office Services, who did the removal, were very generous with their time and facilities. SCCF do a great job to help people in need in Southwark and I was delighted to be able to help them.”

For Angela, the new office is working out even better than she expected.  “Everyone is much happier with the new layout and it is already building up our team work and efficiency. It is difficult to express how far beyond our expectations Richard’s intervention has been and there are no words adequately to express our heartfelt thanks..”

Richard may have completed his mission with SCCF,  but he’s still being kept busy through REACH. He has taken on three other placements, one of which is overseeing the office move for another charity.

“I like to be busy and REACH is very good at finding me the sort of projects that I find stimulating” he says.    

For further information about REACH telephone 020 7582 6543, website

For information about SCCF telephone 020 7639 9760.

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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