David Blunkett to chair meetings between three sight-loss charities

They will discuss how to work together to deliver the UK Vision Strategy

David Blunkett
David Blunkett

David Blunkett, the former Home Secretary, has been appointed to chair discussions among three sight-loss charities that are trying to collaborate more closely.

The RNIB, Action for Blind People and SeeAbility announced in December that they were looking at ways of working together to deliver the UK Vision Strategy.

Blunkett, Labour MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, will chair a group that will include the chief executives and selected trustees of the three charities and will explore ways to bring about closer collaboration.

Blunkett’s role, which will be unpaid, will begin in October and is expected to continue for about a year.

Action for Blind People, along with several other charities, is part of the RNIB group structure in that it is a wholly owned subsidiary of the RNIB, but retains its own chief executive and trustees.

SeeAbility is an independent charity and will not become part of the group structure. However, an RNIB spokeswoman said the three charities were looking at setting up a legal arrangement that would lead to closer collaboration.

She said the group was not yet able to say which services might be shared under the new agreement or what form any collaboration might take, but all three charities would be equal partners in any agreement.

Stephen Remington, chief executive of Action for Blind People, said: "Combining the resources and expertise of the three organisations will avoid duplication of services. By working together, we hope to give people with sight loss a stronger voice, helping them to access the support and outcomes they need, right across the UK."

The RNIB has said it is keen to pursue mergers and collaboration with charities throughout the sight-loss sector.

Last year, it held talks about collaborative working and potential merger with Guide Dogs, but the discussions fell through, prompting RNIB chief executive Lesley-Anne Alexander to say that Guide Dogs had offered excuses to avoid a merger.

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