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Planning Retirement Online

Jobs from the Reach files - 29

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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

John builds a tower

When the Cardinal Hume Centre in Westminster wanted to expand, the charity were given an estimate for a roof extension for 1million. That was before retired architect John came on the scene. His idea of creating a five-storey tower in the `well’ of the Centre made much better use of hitherto unused space and had the added advantage of costing considerably less.

John took on the work through REACH, the charity that finds voluntary work for professional people. The Cardinal Hume Centre helps young, homeless people to fulfil their potential. It runs two hostels, one for those who are homeless and one for those recovering from drug or alcohol abuse. It also has two drop-in centres and an education centre.

When faced with the project, John sketched out several proposals which were further developed by the Centre’s architects, incorporating the original plan for the roof extension. Not only did John’s idea solve immediate space problems, it also added 14 bedrooms together with kitchens, lounges and bathrooms for the Centre’s hostel.  

It was a matter of perfect timing. John says, "The project at the Cardinal Hume Centre worked well because they got me there at just the right time before money had been committed to any scheme. Timing is everything. One charity I tried to help had already spent nearly 100,000 on fees for a building scheme which eventually was rejected."

Professional satisfaction is of course only part of the story for John. Helping a charity do excellent work gives added  pleasure. “I really came to appreciate the value of the Cardinal Hume Centre through one young man who told me how the support they gave helped him to get his life together. He now has both a job and his own home.”  

The REACH job-placement service is available throughout the UK free of charge to both volunteers and voluntary organisations. There are no age limits.

For further information about REACH telephone 020 7582 6543: website For information about the Cardinal Hume Centre telephone 0207 222 1602  

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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