Foresight is paying dividends, says chief executive
After several years of managed overspend, Dorset Blind Association is about to report a second successive year of generating a surplus.
Chief executive officer Jonathan Holyhead, who has held the post for six years, is delighted with the charity’s progress.
“We can only do good if we continue to do well in a business sense,” he says. “So we apply the best principles of running a charity to the best principles of running a business.
“The charity really wasn’t doing the best for the people in Dorset living with sight impairment so the decision was made to quite deliberately overspend to build up our services while we were prudently able to. It has been a real team effort and I’ve worked very closely with John Andrews, the chair of Trustees, so it is very pleasing to have backed ourselves with confidence to create the funding base on which to take the Association forwards.”
A local independent charity which has been helping Dorset people live with sight loss since 1918, Dorset Blind Association receives no funding from central or local government and relies heavily on donations and membership fees, with some income coming from its transcription service.
“It’s very satisfying to find more income starting to come in appreciation of our new services as well as from legacies and regular fundraising events,” adds Jonathan.
“We are constantly working to actively advance the organisation. It’s like in football where the aim is to score a goal so why pass back to the goalie and avoid responsibility? We go for the goal and take the responsibility for pushing it forward.”
Some 5,600 people in Dorset are registered blind and up to 20,000 live with significant sight loss. Dorset Blind Association has nearly 400 volunteers, seven part-time and five full-time staff. Its president is Wilfred Weld whose family bought Lulworth Castle in 1641 and has lived there ever since.
:: A plant sale in aid of Dorset Blind Association takes place at Lulworth Castle on April 29 from 10am-4pm. With a large choice of plants from more than 15 specialist nurseries, organisers are hoping for a repeat of last year’s event which raised more than £1,500 for Dorset Blind Association.