Charity to appoint new chief executive ahead of massive expansion plan

Web sy royal blind010 richard hellewell and mhairi black

Outgoing chief executive Richard Hellewell at the building site of the two new facilities in Paisley 

Richard Hellewell is to retire from Royal Blind ahead of plans to increase staff numbers by 25% to cope with expansion to the west of Scotland

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15th February 2017 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

A Scottish charity is looking to appoint a new chief executive ahead of rapid expansion plans which will see it employ over 100 new members of staff.

The Royal Blind Group is advertising for someone to lead and manage its charities Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded.

The new recruit’s first jobs will be to oversee the appointment of up to 130 new members of staff to run a new Royal Blind care home and Scottish War Blinded veterans centre both opening in Paisley in October.

Davina Shiell, marketing and fundraising manager, at Royal Blind, told TFN it would be an exciting time for someone to join the team.

“As soon as they start we will be starting the recruitment process for all the staff in Paisley,” she said.

“There will be about 100 new jobs in the care home and probably about 30 in the centre.

“There will be a huge range of jobs. In the care home we have everything from the management to specialist nurses, care workers, cleaners, kitchen staff – basically everybody at all levels.

“In the Scottish War Blinded Centre we will have people running a different variety of activities for the veterans, specialist rehabilitation workers and again we will need management, catering and cleaning staff.

“The new services we are building in Paisley are well underway in terms of construction but the opening will be something for the new chief executive to oversee.”

The new appointments will boost the charities workforce up to around 600 employees, with each paid at least the living wage, and will be the first time Royal Blind will have a physical service in the west of Scotland.

The chief executive vacancy has arisen after current chief executive Richard Hellewell (pictured) announced he will retire in July, after leading the two charities for the last 10 years.

During his time both have achieved significant growth.

Among his achievements, Hellewell has established two adult residential services, merged its Royal Blind School campuses and redeveloped them to provide state-of-the-art facilities for pupils with sight loss.

Scottish War Blind has moved away from a workshops only model to establish the Linburn activity and support centre in West Lothian as well as an outreach service supporting visually impaired veterans across the whole of Scotland.

Hellewell has also played a significant role in creating the Paisley facilities.

He told TFN: “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.”

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

“Royal Blind’s Board wish him all the best for his retirement.”

A salary is not being advertised within the job description for the new chief executive role, but the candidate brief explains the group is looking for an experienced leader, with strong financial experience who can demonstrate an ability to implement change.

The deadline for applicants is 10 March and it is hoped the successful candidate will be able to take up the post around the start of July.