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Jobs from the Reach files - 9

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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


About three years ago, a large increase was reported in the number of new HIV positive diagnoses particularly among children and heterosexual adults.  Around the same time, there was the introduction of anti-retroviral drug regimes, which help prolong the lives of those who are HIV positive.   

For the Gloucestershire Aids Trust (GAT) this created a dilemma.  They were expanding from the role of providing small financial grants to offering specific services to their clients.  With more referrals creating a demand for their respite weekends, advocacy and support groups, there was an urgent need for extra funds.

So they were both grateful and fortunate when Tricia Wilson of Cheltenham came to them with her special brand of expertise and contacts.  Tricia is a retired Warwickshire councillor, and her experience enabled her to guide the Trust through a major reorganisation before helping them to gain a lottery grant of 135,000

Tricia was put in touch with GAT by REACH, the charity recruiting people with managerial, professional and technical expertise for part-time unpaid work in the voluntary sector.

Out of the nine voluntary jobs that she was offered, Tricia chose GAT because she felt that their aims would make best use of her experience. She met the people and liked them. She also knew that a successful bid for long-term funding meant that GAT’s approach had to be both practical and professional.

“I felt confident that we were already responding well to our clients’ needs and if we could show that we were realistic about our plans, there would be a funder who would support us,” she says.

The Trust moved its work from volunteers’ homes into a rented office, and Tricia was invited to join the management committee.  They then developed key policy documents, a business plan and annual budget before Tricia got down to her fund-raising work.

She says: “There is no magic about raising funds . It takes a business-like approach and hard work.  Now, thanks to the lottery and REACH, the HIV positive people in the county are getting a much better service.  One of the big things about the voluntary sector is that you get to work with really committed people."

For Tricia, it has been a challenge that has also been tremendously satisfying.   The grant will pay for GAT’s work for three years and will help it to provide a wider range of support services for people diagnosed as HIV positive and their carers.

“Mrs Wilson has transformed our organisation.  We have benefited so much from her business expertise,” says GAT project co-ordinator, David Schermer.  “With her help, we have gone from a group of volunteers sitting around someone’s kitchen table, to a professional organisation with an office and two employees.”

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

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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