A LOCAL journalist has given up the comforts of her day job to volunteer her experience and expertise to a charitable cause as part of a company initiative.

Hannah Mitchell, a writer at John Lewis Cardiff¹s internal magazine, The Chronicle, took on the voluntary role at the Lorna Young Foundation, a charity dedicated to helping organisations in developing countries to make the transition from being growers and producers of raw crops to those that are in control of their own business.

The secondment, which saw the Victoria Wharf resident spend six months at the charity, was part of the Golden Jubilee Trust - an initiative set up by the John Lewis Partnership to offer practical help to UK - registered charities.

Hannah, 21, was the first Partner at John Lewis Cardiff to be given the opportunity and said she thorughly enjoyed it.

On a personal level, this has been a fantastic experience for me,² she said.

I have been able to expand my own skills and knowledge base, and am able to bring that experience back to my job at John Lewis. During her time at the charity, Hannah transferred her journalistic skills into the role of a media, information and communication volunteer. In her role, she produced a communication strategy to help raise awareness of the great work the charity does to promote ethical trading.

I feel the journalistic experience I have accumulated at John Lewis over the past three and a half years has really made a difference to the Foundation, added Hannah.

As well as creating a media strategy for the charity, I developed strong media links for the Foundation.

I chose to work for them specifically as I wanted to share my knowledge and I felt they would greatly benefit from this.² The John Lewis Partnership set up the Golden Jubilee Trust in April 2000 to mark the 50th anniversary of the co-ownsership business structure. Partners (staff) at any level within John Lewis or Waitrose can apply for a secondment to provide help for a charity, whilst developing new skills which can be used in both their work and personal lives. The Golden Jubilee Trust awards approximately 50 secondments each year on a full or part-time basis for a maximum of six months and takes on the Partners full pay to cover the placement. Last year the Golden Jubilee Trust donated the equivalent of nearly 22,500 hours to charity.

Commenting on Hannah's role, Christina Longden, one of the Foundation's Directors, said: Hannah's journalistic experience has been invaluable to us. We were extremely lucky to have Hannah at the charity and we hope this secondment will further strengthen our relationship with John Lewis Cardiff.

It is fantastic that charities like ours get to benefit from Partners experience and expertise as part of the Golden Jubilee Trust and we are truly grateful to the John Lewis Partnership for loaning Hannah to us.