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Charity names first CEO ahead of independence
26 November 2021
Sight Life has appointed Rich Harvey as the first CEO in its 156 year history. He will ensure the charity continues to support people with sight loss across South Wales, while overseeing our return to independence after being part of the RNIB Group since 2009.
Rich said: “This is a great opportunity to maintain and extend the local face to face support for blind and partially sighted people at the heart of what Sight Life does. I’m delighted to join a strong and dedicated team, led by Operations Manager Michelle Jones, which has continued to provide a lifeline to so many vulnerable people during the pandemic.”
Welcoming Rich, who has many years experience in the charity sector and has worked in the National Partnership Development Team with the RNIB, Sight Life chairman John Sanders added: “Recruiting a CEO instead of a director is a big step for us. It reflects our ambition as a charity and also the scale of need in south Wales, especially as the number of people living with sight loss is rising.”
After Sight Life’s de-merger next year from the UK wide RNIB Group, both charities will still work together to help people with sight loss. The separation, though, will allow each charity to focus on its core strengths. For Sight Life this means providing practical help to anyone with limited sight so that they can shop, pay bills, travel, work, access leisure activities and do most of the things that people with ordinary vision take for granted.
Sight Life used to be known as Cardiff Institute for the Blind. We changed our name in 2019 to reflect the fact that we work beyond Cardiff, including Swansea and RCT (Rhondda Cynon Taf). The name change also recognises the fact that we support people with any degree of sight loss, not only those who are blind.
1. Sight Life (formerly Cardiff Institute for the Blind) supports people who are blind or partially sighted in south Wales. In 2020/21 we helped more than 3,000 people in Cardiff, Swansea, RCT, Neath and Port Talbot.
2. We provide statutory services to people with sight loss on behalf of the local Councils in Cardiff and Swansea.
3. In cooperation with the NHS, we provide a support service (ECLO: Eye Clinic Liaison Officer) for patients newly diagnosed with sight loss in University Hospital of Wales (UHW “The Heath”) in Cardiff.
4. Our aims are to ensure that people with sight loss can take part in all aspects of society, including work and leisure.
5. We offer a range of training, clubs and activities including audio-described theatre trips, confidence building, cooking, drama, employment support, fitness, gardening, IT, music, photography, rambling and yoga to people with sight loss.
6. Established in 1865, we are one of Wales’ oldest charities. In spring 2022 we will return to being an independent charity after being part of the UK wide RNIB Group since 2009.
7. We have approximately a dozen staff and annual income in the region of £440,000 from statutory contracts, grants, trusts, The National Lottery, donations and legacies.
Need to talk to someone? Call us on 029 2039 8900
Sight Life (Head Office)
029 2039 8900
Swansea and Neath Port Talbot
Swansea Vale Resource Centre
Swansea SA7 0AL