Interview with Mike Mansfield volunteer at Active 8 and Catholic Free School in Cambourne
I qualified with Peat Marwick as it then was in 1972. I then joined the London branch of a German Landesbank as administrator with a focus on tax and accounting matters. While there, I ended up designing and installing an EDP (electronic data processing) system in the foreign branches with special emphasis on FX accounting, followed by other IT systems and IT planning on an international level.
In 2005 I was made redundant and so set up as a sole trader through the AIMS franchise. I traded for six years working for SMEs in Essex and Norfolk. I managed to sell the business and retired four years ago.
I have since moved to Cornwall to be nearer my children.
What prompted you to offer your skills on icaewvolunteers.com?
Initially, I began volunteering my time through Volunteer Cornwall. I then also joined the Prince’s Trust and took on the treasurership of a memory café and later the Cornwall CAB. Sadly, I had to resign from the latter two and was, as such, looking for something else.
Following the closure of Volunteer Cornwall, I came across icaewvolunteers.com and scoured the website for opportunities.
What type of role were you looking for?
A finance or accounting side role for any worthwhile cause that was within easy reach of Bodmin.
How many roles did you apply for?
I applied for two roles through the website. The first was as a trustee of a newly formed Catholic Free School in Cambourne, as the current treasurer anticipated travelling to visit family in Canada and wanted a stand in. The second role I applied for was to Active 8, a charity aimed at encouraging disabled youngsters in Cornwall to obtain their independence.
What does your volunteering role involve?
At the school, I have taken up the role of officer with responsibility for doing audits of the financial systems and procedures as suggested in the Education Act. I am also trying to fund a sports hall and generally taking an interest in the IT at the school.
At Active 8, I am working with the management team to improve the accounting systems and management accounts. I am also trying to bring the benefit of my experience to the other trustees who are mainly involved with social care, etc.
What has been the high point of your work with the charity?
In fact, it’s the work with the Prince’s Trust, particularly encouraging young people to become self-employed, lecturing on accounting and tax, mentoring start-ups and generally being available to other mentors when it comes to accounting and tax matters.
Mind you, this is having worked with them for three years. Once I’ve spent that amount of time with Active 8, I imagine I’ll get the same enjoyment seeing a young disabled person getting on with their life independently. There are a couple of such youngsters who are fellow trustees managing to do that extremely well.
Similarly, I expect that I will enjoy seeing a two year old school reaching its full complement in another three years and the kids moving on to higher education.
Have you found the scheme rewarding? If so, why?
I think the scheme stops a wealth of knowledge from being put on in the waste bin. Not only does it keep one’s mind and body agile, it also gives some purpose to life after work, getting you out and meeting people of all ages (not just other pensioners!).
Would you recommend the scheme to your peers? If so, why?
I have already. I suggested that the local CAB advertised to replace me via your website. I think that the use of your website does a lot of the weeding out of unsuitable candidates that a newspaper advert attracts. From my perspective, the reverse is also true. All the vacancies advertised appear to be genuine and worthwhile.