Recent Successes for Our Volunteers
Jayne Leak and the Parent Support Group
“Jayne took us from double ledger books to an electronic system,” says Anne Williams, Operations Director of the Parent Support Group (South East). The Greenwich-based charity, which supports parents and carers of teenagers through the turbulent teenage years when behaviour can become uncontrollable, needed someone “with financial skills in order to ensure that the charity can account for and make best use of its resources in uncertain times.”
Reach volunteer Jayne Leak, a professional with an extensive background in finance and management accounting, came on board. The PSG is a small charity (One in staff and 20 volunteers) with a wide remit. It provides one-to-one support for parents concerned by their child’s anti-social and often criminal behaviour including drug and alcohol abuse, together with drop-in sessions and living with challenging behaviour courses.
Jayne developed new accounting procedures, replacing the outmoded ledger books, and set up an electronic system that Anne Williams, the Operations Director or a volunteer would be able to operate on their own. Anne says we now have “accurate financial systems in place for the management of multiple, ringfenced funding systems.”
For Jayne it was a great opportunity to contribute her skills to a fantastic charitable cause. Currently self-employed as a contract management accountant her list of clients have included a range of businesses from sole traders to large US owned conglomerates. “But I would like a change,” says Jayne, “and in an ideal world would love to secure paid employment in the charity sector .”
Jerry Nicholson and REMAP Tyne
REMAP is a nationwide charity which makes or adapts equipment for disabled people to suit individual needs. This is equipment that will help them achieve independence but where an appropriate commercially made product is not available. These unique pieces are tailor-made by volunteer experts, and given free to the people who need them. REMAP Tyne called on Reach to find such an inventive and skilful volunteer.
With 30 years professional experience as a BP offshore Operations Engineer/Offshore Installation Manager, volunteer Jerry Nicholson set to work transferring not only his technical skills but considerable ingenuity to meet one of the client’s very special needs. Confined to a wheelchair with motor-neurone disease, he had a hoist that could get him out of the chair and onto a couch, but when a new settee arrived the hoist did not fit under it. He has a severely mentally and physically disabled daughter who he still wanted to sit with and cuddle on the sofa and he was not prepared to give up this contact with her.
Jerry manufactured brackets and adapted the old steel riser’s legs so that they were secured for safety and stability thus allowing full use of the hoist.
“The client is very pleased with the finished job,” says Madeleine Elliott, Chair of REMAP’s Tyne Panel. “You can imagine how important this was to the client. Jerry will be an asset to the work we do.”
“It’s such a good feeling when you help someone out with immediate results,” says Jerry. “It’s quite a change from being in charge of an offshore oil platform with responsibility for up to 170 men.
Jerry says he was so pleased that Reach put him in touch so could use his skills to help a severely disabled man continue enjoying the comfort and love of his daughter.
Michael Lewins and the Jesmond United Reformed Church
Michael Lewins is a business planner. He has 35 years experience with major corporations in business advising, planning and implementation. But he likes to volunteer his skills to charitable organisations. Fortunately Michael was available when the trustees of the Jesmond United Reformed Church in Newcastle called on Reach for help. “Please find us a business planner to compile the data and the documents essential to the production of a business plan to support the church’s applications for grants and funding our development plan.”
The plan, to make greater use of the church buildings for community activities, included a cafe, conference facilities, and music facilities and modernisation of existing premises for numerous group activities including the pre-school play group, parent and toddler group and ‘green’ and fair trade events. Costs were estimated at approximately £2million.
Says trustee Alan Piggot, “Michael’s contribution has been very helpful. He has been involved in a number of meetings after which he produced an excellent business plan which was unanimously approved by Church committee and now has been taken forward to be used to secure the funds and grants.
“Without Michael’s help and Reach support we would not have been able to go forward with our much needed development to serve the community’s needs.”