The days of spending your retirement knitting by the fire are long gone! Today's retirees are now far more likely to be found back-packing in foreign climes while Age UK says 40% of older people are now engaging in voluntary work.
Not one to buck a trend, Zurich has become a trail-blazer in supporting employees who are approaching the time where retirement may be on the horizon, and thoughts may turn towards volunteering as working life at Zurich winds down.
This is where we step in! 'Evolving' is a programme especially designed by Zurich Community Trust (ZCT) to support any Zurich employees thinking about volunteering when they retire.
As we know, there are now more options than ever available to people who are approaching the age where retirement is possible. Volunteering can provide an opportunity to expand existing skills, or serve as a stepping stone to a new career path. It can be a way to ease into retirement, aid wellbeing and give much needed help to others less fortunate.
Having the opportunity to use those valuable skills and experience developed at work, and to learn some new ones, is truly beneficial to both the retiree and the community.
And, of course, the experience retirees have accumulated really is at a premium to the much stretched voluntary sector; charities need the kind of expertise and experience retirees can offer, and they need it now more than ever.
Be more Brian!
Meet Brian Hughes (above), one of our very first 'Evolvers!'. Brian retired from work at the Arle Centre, Cheltenham over fifteen years ago and started to support Ian, a partially sighted client of Insight Gloucestershire, in 2015.
Brian fancied volunteering as a befriender and was matched with Ian, who he visited on a weekly basis when they enjoyed each other’s company for up to an hour and a half. Ian is in his mid 80s and has macular degeneration.
Befriending really benefited Ian as he can no longer pursue his varied hobbies due to his failing sight. In his younger days he enjoyed carpentry, had an amateur pilot’s licence and was a keen hill walker. Brian, too, is a hill walking enthusiast and enjoys hiking in the Lake District so they were extremely well matched!
We're so grateful to Brian and to all our past and present 'Evolvers' (including from left Irene Hagan, Derek Page, Anne Fernandez and John Graham) for donating their time and commitment to so many different causes through the programme.
On a new path
Thanks to Zurich’s innovative volunteering policy, Zurich employees in the UK no longer need to wait until retirement to get involved.
If you work for Zurich in the UK, once you've given formal notice of retirement, you can now take one paid half-day per week (pro-rated if part-time) during the last six months of employment, to volunteer in the community.
Employees may already have a charity in mind or need support to find a suitable and rewarding opportunity brokered through 'Evolving'.
Read all about it!
Read on to find out how a few of our 'Evolvers' are embracing volunteering as part of their life as a retiree.
Among others, you'll meet Eileen Rainey who volunteers for the Home Library Service, Graham Prior, former Underwriting Director for Commercial Lines, who's putting his leadership skills to good use as Chair of Focus to support those with visual impairments and John Graham, ex Engineer Surveyor, who's helped REMAP design aids for those with disabilities. All great examples of how Zurich retirees are applying their business experience and skills in pastures new!