A career after retirement
Published: 25 Nov 2016
How would you feel if you were offered your dream role in retirement? Jobs in Scotland find out from Roberta Eunson.
Roberta Eunson has been looking back on how her dream position co-exists comfortably with retirement. After over 40 years with the NHS, latterly as nursing services manager with the professional lead for health visiting, Roberta had worked with families throughout her career in Aberdeenshire, where she was based.
After retiring from her full-time role in 2010, she accepted a short-term public health position in the city to support the development of maternal and infant nutrition. It was at this point that Roberta became involved with family support charity Home-Start Aberdeen, which was developing its now well-established Recipe for Life project to provide local families with practical cooking skills, plus advice and support on healthy living.
“I quickly became interested in the service that Home-Start Aberdeen was providing to families in the city. The Recipe for Life project had an obvious connection with what I was doing in my final employed role – and I was delighted to be invited to sit on the interview panel when Home-Start Aberdeen recruited a co-ordinator to drive the project forward,” said Roberta, who is the chairwoman with Home-Start Aberdeen.
Once the Recipe for Life project had got off the ground, Roberta expressed sadness that her time with Home-Start Aberdeen would come to an end. She had been impressed by the work of the organisation, which is volunteer-led and provides vulnerable families with emotional and practical support in their own homes. It took less than 24 hours for her to consider and accept an invitation by the scheme manager to join the charity’s board of trustees.
She said: “After a fulfilling career working with families, Home-Start Aberdeen was a logical fit with my background and experience – and I felt very strongly that what the charity’s work was both important and impactful.
“As well as the Recipe for Life project, the charity works closely with the NHS in a number of areas, so the staff team and my fellow trustees felt that my knowledge of NHS systems and networks would be useful. Health visitors are a key referrer group for Home-Start – they regularly identify and refer families who they feel could benefit from the charity’s unique form of home-based support.”
During the last five years as a trustee, Roberta feels that she too has gained new skills and networks. She was heavily involved in helping Home-Start Aberdeen to establish its own social enterprise project in the form of a city centre charity shop, which opened in 2012.
As chairwoman, she plays a key role in steering the strategic direction and maintaining the smooth running of the charity. Roberta is also responsible for providing the scheme manager with support and supervision.
She said: “Working with my fellow trustees, the staff team and our volunteers to grow our provision in the city has been tremendously rewarding. We’re now one of the largest Home-Start schemes in the UK and I feel honoured to have played a part in that process.
“I also enjoy the balance between strategic planning and hands-on activities. I love to help out with our events and campaigns, such as the Christmas book advent, when we collect and wrap books to encourage families to read together in the build-up to Christmas day.
“I’d urge anyone approaching retirement to consider becoming a trustee with a cause they care about. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
Home-Start Aberdeen is currently seeking trustees with legal and fundraising experience. Inquiries can be made, in confidence, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org