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Planning Retirement Online

Jobs from the Reach files - 6

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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


Graham Smith is a live wire. He intends to have an active retirement  which will reward both himself and the community in Fife where he lives. When he left his post as sales and marketing director of Great North Eastern Railways, he looked for voluntary work that would utilise his business skills and provide him with stimulating employment. He registered with REACH and was offered a choice of fifteen jobs from which he chose three.

“I was open to anything worthwhile to which I could make a useful contribution,he says,  “I am delighted with the jobs that I am now doing. They give me the opportunity to get out and about, to use my old skills and learn some new ones, as well as meeting new people, some of whom have already become friends.”

Graham's first choice is the fundraising team of the St Andrew’s Pilgrim Foundation, a newly formed charity dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the harbour and conservation area of St Andrews. The charity was formed by former councillor, Patrick Cassells, to help reverse the decline of much of ancient St Andrews. It is now spearheaded by his widow Maries.

It has turned out to be a very happy 'marriage'.  The Foundation, according to Maries, has acquired in Graham a catalyst who has come up with some excellent ideas based on his business experience.  The fundraising team has several ambitious schemes in motion and has already been promised support and practical help by several famous golfers, British Airways, the Gleneagles Hotel and the Old Course Hotel.

“It’s very exciting and great fun,” says Graham. “I am working with a lot of big-hearted people who want to do their best for their community.”

His second job is helping to recruit volunteers to work in the OXFAM shop in St Andrews. Although this is well- staffed in term-time, the team can find themselves short-handed when the St Andrews University students are on vacation, and sadly sometimes have to close the shop.

“I am afraid that I had never before bought things from an OXFAM shop,” says Graham, “But now that I work there I am very impressed by the quality of our stock, in particular we have a really good book department.”    Graham is working hard to find new volunteers from the community so that the shop can stay open all year round.

Graham’s third voluntary job is helping with publicity, marketing and administration for the National Playing Fields Association. He visits schools’ events and offers prizes in an effort to encourage more youngsters to take part in sport.

All this voluntary work can occupy Graham two to three days a week but he also intends to continue his education. He ruefully admits to being computer illiterate.

“I realise that voluntary organisations need people who are proficient in IT,” he says. “So I think I will have to join an evening class to get myself proficient with computers.”

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

For details of  volunteer jobs in Scotland call REACH area managers: George Arkless – 01360 661110 (West): David Watson –0131 336 1080 (East) or Colin Milligan (01888 560180) (North)

REACH London office:  Tel: 020 7582 6543.   email:    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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