Martin’s MD launches inspiring volunteering platform


"Everyone has the gift of time and many people have skills, extraordinary or not, that could change or improve the health, state of mind and wellbeing of people in need", says Richard Bourne as he launches Abling - a platform to donate anything from help with daily errands to once-in-a-lifetime bucket list activities.

The Managing Director of Chelsea landlord and property developer Martin’s Properties, Richard Bourne, has launched a new charitable venture that aims to enrich the lives of terminally ill people and those under charitable care, through a network of volunteers.

Abling provides an opportunity for businesses and members of the public to offer their skills, assets or activities to terminally ill patients or those under charitable care. The website allows users to donate time and skills to fit around their schedules, while carers and registered charities can easily see what’s available and book the free resources.

Volunteers – “Ablers” to the “Enabled” community – can offer anything from dog walking or just a change of scenery to supercar experiences and one-off bucket-list activities… The platform has a feature that allows Enabled users to request a once-in-a-lifetime dream, for an Abler to provide.

Richard Bourne, founder of Abling: “The idea came about when I was able to take a friend for a flight in a light aircraft as a bucket list last wish. He was seriously ill with scarring to 90% of both his kidneys and was due to have a double kidney transplant the following week. The operation had serious risks with little more than 10% chance of success. I briefed him and we took off for a flight down to the Isle of Wight, along the coast and back to Fairoaks airport about an hour later.  I showed him the controls and he helped fly for much of the trip. The smile on his face during and after the flight was infectious, mesmerising and inspirational. We landed and there were tears all around. It was a massively emotional and uplifting moment for all of us and it gave a critically ill person a big slice of fun to fuel the fight that was needed at a crucial time. The amazing thing is, he survived the operation and went on to get his own pilots licence. He even took me for a flight a few years later to say thank you! I realised then, that donating less than an hour of my time to fill an empty passenger seat to fulfil someone’s dream could make a meaningful impact on both of us.

“Everyone has the gift of time and many people have skills, extraordinary or not, that could change or improve the health, state of mind and wellbeing of people in need. I realised I needed to create a platform to enable this type of sharing and empowerment for everyone… Abling was born.

“The support that individuals and communities are showing to each other during the Covid 19 crisis has been incredible and I hope that this sense of community remains and is a lasting impact, long after we have found a cure. I was amazed at the impact the flight had on me and would encourage anyone to offer their time to enrich the life of someone else alongside providing a huge sense of achievement and enrichment to their own life. It’s a day that I will never forget.”