Chief Executive of Royal Blind to step down


Press Release

The Chief Executive of Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded has announced his retiral.

Richard Hellewell has said he will retire from his position as Chief Executive in July 2017, after leading the two charities for the last ten years.

During his time, Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded achieved significant development and growth. Royal Blind established two adult residential services, training provision for teachers in mainstream schools working with visually impaired children and an after school and holiday club. The Royal Blind School’s campuses merged and the school underwent a significant re-development to provide state-of-the-art facilities for pupils with sight loss. The Scottish Braille Press’s turnover and staffing doubled.

Mr Hellewell also led the development of Scottish War Blinded’s services, moving away from workshops and establishing a thriving activity and support centre in West Lothian as well as a pioneering outreach service supporting visually impaired veterans across the whole of Scotland.

The charities are set to expand later this year with a new Royal Blind care home and a second Scottish War Blinded centre both opening in Paisley. Over 100 staff will be recruited for the two new services.

Recruitment is now under way for a new Chief Executive to lead the charities through the next stage of their development.

Mr Hellewell said:

“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.”

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 re-developing the Royal Blind School to constructing the two new services that we will be opening in Paisley later this year. Royal Blind’s Board wish him all the best for his retirement.”

For further information please contact:

Davina Shiell, Marketing Manager

0131 222 2794, 07713 987797

Photo shows Mr Hellewell at the ground breaking ceremony for our new service for visually impaired older people in Paisley with MP Mhairi Black.

Notes to Editors

Royal Blind is Scotland's largest visual impairment organisation and runs the following services:

·         The Royal Blind School - specialist education for young people aged up to 18 years.

·         Royal Blind Learning Hub - supporting teachers of visually impaired pupils in the mainstream sector.

·         Adult Services (Forward Vision and Allermuir) - residential services providing 24 hour care for people with visual impairment and multiple disabilities.

·         Braeside House - a care home specialising in care for visually impaired older people.

·         The Scottish Braille Press - a leading provider of high quality Braille, large print and audio transcription services.

·         Kidscene - an after school and holiday club for children with and without disabilities.

Royal Blind’s sister charity is Scottish War Blinded, which provides free support to veterans of the armed forces who have lost their sight in service or subsequently. Together, the two charities operate as the Royal Blind Group. Each organisation has its own management, and both are overseen by the Royal Blind Board and Chief Executive.