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Planning Retirement Online

Jobs from the Reach files - 28

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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 two charities bank on David

David Keeling from Sharnbrook, Bedford, spent most of his professional life working in banking in South America, Canada, and Spain. Now he is worth his weight in gold to two charities much nearer home. He is treasurer and trustee for both Sight Concern, Bedfordshire, and the Bedfordshire Advocacy Campaign for Older People. 

When David left the world of banking he was keen to take on some challenging voluntary work. “REACH sent me a variety of jobs and I chose these two because I am in sympathy with their aims”, says David. “I work about a day and a half each week, some of the time at the office and some of it at home. Obviously at very busy times, like the end of the financial year, I put in quite a few more hours. It’s very stimulating and I like to feel that I am doing something of value and putting my expertise to good use.”

David joined Sight Concern Bedfordshire, soon after three local charities had merged into one. He inherited three sets of accounts and quite a few difficulties. “The organisation has seen a period of great growth, and now deals with five times the number of blind or partially sighted people than before the merge. The number of phone calls we get has grown by 300 per cent.

Sight Concern Bedfordshire’s main role is to offer advice and information specifically to help people get the right equipment to maintain their independence. They do this through talking books, by getting bank statements sent on tape or in braille, and helping sort out benefits, particularly filling in complicated application forms. The charity also runs four social clubs, visits people in their homes, and offers a quarterly newsletter in large print or braille.

Marianda Twydell, Director of Sight Concern Bedfordshire, says, “David is crucial to our work. Treasurers are so much in demand that we should value them above all else. He has made an enormous difference both to the organisation and to the other trustees. He has reviewed our investments and sorted out our bank accounts. He is simply a star.”

The Bedfordshire Advocacy Campaign for  Older People, with offices in Bedford and Dunstable looks after the interests of those having problems with officialdom.

It’s a small charity, aiming to speak for people who cannot speak for themselves, helping older people to get the information they need.  David is a perfect fit here too, says the charity’s director Gail Shanahan. “He monitors our accounts and budgets. He is really a huge asset.”

The REACH service matching people with skills with voluntary organisations, is free of charge and available to anyone with a few hours to spare. 

For further information about REACH please telephone 020 7582 6543: 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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