Royal Blind bids fond farewell to Chief Executive Richard Hellewell

Posted: 30/06/2017 | Education, Adult Services, Care for Older People, , Child Care,

Royal Blind today bids a fond farewell to Chief Executive Richard Hellewell who is retiring after 10 years at the helm.

Richard was instrumental in introducing some significant changes over the past decade. Incoming Chief Executive Mark O'Donnell will officially take up the role on Monday. 

Richard rides a bike with pupilForward Vision was launched in 2010 to provide residential care to adults aged 17-25 with vision impairment and other disabilities. The service was designed to meet the need for a transitional service for young people leaving school.

Crowd gathers at front of Allermuir as Chief Executive cuts ribbonTwo years later Kidscene held its first ever after-school club, with the aim of providing childcare for both vision impaired and sighted children, as well as children with other disabilities in a fully integrated environment. Today Kidscene is flourishing and celebrated its 5th birthday in January.

Chief Executive stands with several children and holds up a birthday cakeIn 2014 Richard oversaw the merger of the Royal Blind School’s Craigmillar Park and Canaan Lane campuses. The Royal Blind School underwent significant redevelopment to provide state-of-the-art facilities for pupils with sight loss.

At the beginning of 2015, land was purchased in the West of Scotland for our new care home for vision impaired older people, which will be modelled on our successful Edinburgh home, Braeside House. The first residents of Jenny’s Well are expected to move in this autumn.

The Learning Hub was launched in 2015 to provide training courses, support, advice and workshops to teachers and educators of visually impaired children and young people across Scotland, and Allermuir, our second residential service for visually impaired young adults, opened its doors last year.

Later this year the Scottish Braille Press will mark the end of an era at their Craigmillar Park location with a move to new premises in Gorgie. They will be joined there by Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded’s ICT department.

We would like to thank Richard for 10 years of dedication to Royal Blind.

Gwenn McCreath, Chair of Royal Blind said: “Over the last decade Richard has made a huge contribution towards the availability of services for blind and partially sighted people across Scotland.

“He has overseen a number of large-scale development projects, from building the Scottish War Blinded Linburn Centre and redeveloping the Royal Blind School to constructing the two new services that we will be opening in Paisley later this year. Royal Blind’s Board wishes him all the best for his retirement.”

Richard commented: “I have greatly enjoyed my time at Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded and am proud to see how the staff have embraced the challenges of establishing new services for blind people over the last decade.

“I wish the staff team and the new Chief Executive all the best with the new developments that lie ahead for Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded. I will be looking forward to spending more time with my grandchildren and enjoying the great Scottish outdoors in my retirement.”