Recent Successes Amongst Our Voluntary Organisations
Aditya Kashikar and Charity Bikur Cholim
Bikur Cholim (left), a charity that provides practical and emotional support for people who are suffering illness or disability in North London, had acquired new premises close by. Those premises recquired a total renovation to accommodate the charity's activities and enable them to add new programmes. What was needed was an architect to help design the new facilities.
Bikur Cholim called on Reach for a volunteer architect. Chief Executive, Mrs Yocheved Eiger, says: 'Reach provided me with a very efficient service. In just a few days, they were able to match me with a very experienced and professional person. The fact that he was a volunteer made him a very empathetic person and able to give from the heart. It was a wonderful experience for us.'
Volunteer Aditya Kashikar's original remit was to design the new mental health facility, but 'he gave a great deal more help'. He has a BA in Architecture and an MSc in Construction Management and Economics. Although he has worked on a number of projects, Aditya says he was 'grateful that Reach recognised my healthcare design work and was able to match my skills in line with Bikur Cholim's requirements'.
The Players' Theatre
Australian Scott MacKay came to London from Queensland with a strong marketing background. Through Reach he was taken on by the Players’ Theatre to promote their Victorian Music Hall shows. Players Director Bill Hanlon said: “Scott is very energetic in following up on leads to help make sure every show is full and he helps design promotional materials. Scott now has a paid job as a publications officer in London but he is still giving his time to help the Players’ Theatre.”
Counsel and Care
Counsel and Care is a national charity which provides advice, support and information for older people, their families and carers. The charity is developing an ambitious project to help create a new national network of befriending schemes called VitalLinks. This project will strengthen local befriending schemes for older people around the country and encourage new schemes to be set up. Challenged with the need for support and human resource in setting up such a project, Counsel and Care approached Reach. Reach volunteer Alma Erlich was one of the first to volunteer for this project. A chartered psychologist by profession, Alma brought solid analytical skills and psychological insight to best express what the older people needed. Says Kathleen Gillett, VitalLinks Project Coordinator of Alma, “It was really good to have someone so thoughtful at the beginning and she helped me with the promotional materials for the VitalLinks website.” Alma has also contributed significantly to the project strategy.
Community IT Academy
Community IT Academy (CITA) provides IT training, website design and IT service and support, helping mainly voluntary organisations to maintain and develop their use of IT. At a crossroads, Newcastle-based CITA called upon Reach to help evaluate what they were doing to see if they were making a difference in the voluntary sector. Susan Staines, Reach volunteer, contributed her 30 years of experience in education management and produced a report that "proved to be an extremely valuable document," says John Sadler, a CITA director. It concluded that CITA was making a valuable input and presented proposals for the way forward. "She has been a great help."
Elizabeth Finn Care
Reach works closely with Elizabeth Finn Care, a charity founded in 1897 that helps professional people in need. Reach regularly places volunteer Case Consultants across the UK who assess potential beneficiaries in their own homes and submit recommendations for assistance.
Skills 4U Northeast provides young people with hands-on experience in the building trade, "giving them construction qualifications and a foot in the door of the industry," as Mark Knott, founder of the social enterprise said.
Skills 4U were looking to develop their business especially in their relationship with secondary schools. Susan Staines, a Reach volunteer with an extensive background in education and training, was ideal. Mark Knott reported "Susan presented us with a strategic plan that helped us move forward. If we didn’t have her, we wouldn’t be sure we were moving on in the right direction."
Quiet Cup Cafe
Staff and volunteers run the Quiet Cup Café, a project of the Grampian Racial Equality Council (GREC), committed to combating racism in the North East of Scotland. At the Café people looking to improve their English and to integrate with the local community can volunteer as waiters and waitresses and in food preparation, to learn skills that will improve their employability. Reach volunteer Rocio Moreno is researching and developing policies in food handling and hygiene, stock purchases and delivery for the community café.
Bound by a common love of sailing, able-bodied and visually or otherwise disabled sailors learn together and sail together at the Tideway Sailability club at the Surrey Docks Water Centre in South London. For more than 20 years the Club has provided the opportunity for hundreds of members to sail throughout the year. Reach volunteer Harjohd Gill combined his love of sailing with an offer of help. He became treasurer and Reach has now found a new director, Kevin Abbott, who helps with the funding and the Club Commodore 's administrative tasks.
Outside in Pathways are a project offering art-based workshops in London's museums and galleries for people with learning disabilities. Deborah Evans-Stickland, the programme co-ordinator, was delighted with the strategic support given by Heather Honour, the Reach volunteer. "She restructured the steering group and gave us fundraising advice, found us an excellent treasurer and secured interviews with the disability and community care press".