Victim Support looks to training arm for income

Victim Support has for the first time appointed a chief executive to run its subsidiary consultancy training business as it seeks to increase the company's income five-fold within five years.

Ray Wilkinson, currently director for sponsors at the British Quality Foundation, a not-for-profit membership organisation promoting business excellence, will take up the role on 1 July.

Wilkinson spent 12 years at Legal and General, including two as regional head of corporate social responsibility, and is in his third year as chairman of Working with Words, a social business for people with learning disabilities.

Wilkinson will report to Ken Madine, Victim Support's head of fundraising and marketing. The creation of his role follows the appointment of four new non-executive directors, taking the total to six in a bid to provide a stronger platform for growth.

The charity established Victim Support Workforce Consultancy and Training in 2002 after 10 years of training corporate sector staff to provide effective support to victims of violence. According to the charity, corporates prefer to spend money on initiatives that prevent crime, rather than supporting victims of crime.

The charity's training is delivered mainly to the retail and transport sectors, helping staff plan for the aftermath of violent incidents, and to the insurance industry, training call handlers to be more sympathetic to policy holders who have been victims of crime.

"Until now, we have relied on existing fundraising staff to sell our services to corporates," said Madine. "This appointment will give us someone to drive the company forward." Fundraising from corporate partnerships last year netted the charity around £100,000.

Madine has set an annual revenue target of £400,000 by 2009. Last year, the trading arm raised £75,000 from selling its training services and merchandise such as Christmas cards.

Wilkinson's appointment comes in the wake of the Home Office proposal to put the charity's Witness Service contract, worth £7m a year, out to tender. Victim Support launched the service in 1999 and will hear this autumn whether it has to bid to continue to run it.

- See News in Focus, p12.

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