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Planning Retirement Online

Jobs from the Reach files - 8

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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


Stanley Reid, from Deanston, Perthshire, is concerned with other people’s profit margins. Following his retirement as company secretary for Jenners, the Princes Street Department Store in Edinburgh, a chance meeting led him to REACH.

“We were having Christmas lunch in a hotel and got into conversation with someone who told me about all the interesting voluntary jobs that REACH had found him,” said Stan. “So I thought I’d give it a go. I didn’t want to do the same things I had done in my working life, but I wanted to be able to use my brain and some of the skills that I had acquired."

REACH set him up as an adviser for the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) and the trading shops for Capability Scotland.

"These two jobs are perfect. I work for one or two days each week. For  PSYBT, I advise five young people who have just set up in business, a portrait artist, a picture framing shop, fashion clothing and a catering company. Two men and three women, all under 25.”

Stanley also works with Dorothy Blair, the trading manager of Capability Scotland, who have recently taken over the charity shops which used to be run by SCOPE, to raise funds for people with cerebral palsy and other severe disabilities.

Together Stanley and Dorothy started looking  at ways to  re-merchandise and market the shops through analysis of the sales profile. The result has been greatly improved performance of all the shops tackled to date.

Stan couldn't have come onto the scene at a better time, says Dorothy. "His knowledge of property issues has been of great benefit to us. He has analysed property leases and rent reviews. He also makes contact with Local Authorities about dates for street collections and for discretionary rates relief. His retail experience has been invaluable, not only for the specific jobs he has taken on, but also for the advice and support he can offer.”

Stan says that although he had no difficulty in filling his time in retirement, he did find himself slowing down without the pressures of full-time employment, so he is pleased to be back in the world of problem solving.

“Exactly the same retail principles apply with charity shops as with commercial enterprises,” he says. “The only difference is that we can’t choose our stock.   But we have to display things well, offer a service to the customers and maximise our profits.  It is very satisfying, especially when, with just a little re-organisation, we can see the profits are going up.”

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 –01331 336 1080 (East) or Colin Milligan – 01888 568856(North)

REACH London office: Tel: 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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