Chief Executive of Scottish War Blinded to step down

Press Release

The Chief Executive of  Scottish War Blinded and Royal Blind 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

Davina.shiell@royalblind.org

Notes to Editors

Editors Notes:

  • Scottish War Blinded provides free support to all veterans no matter if they lost their sight during or after service
  • The Linburn Centre, located in Wilkieston, West Lothian, is a free day centre, for up to 35 members, providing rehabilitation, activities and social opportunities
  • Scottish War Blinded’s Outreach Service supports members by liaising with statutory and voluntary organisations, providing specialist VI equipment, promoting independent living as well as introducing social opportunities in the local community

Scottish War Blinded's sister charity is Royal Blind, which is Scotland's largest visual impairment organisation. 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

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