Saturday, 13 July 2024
UK Charity Week 2024 - Sponsored by Sinclair Method UK
Saturday, 13 July 2024

Open Sight Hampshire welcomes new leadership team members

OPEN Sight Hampshire has welcomed two new members to its senior leadership team.

Ian Morris has joined the charity as Head of Service and Gemma McKnight is the new Head of Income Generation and Communications.

The two appointments follow the recent announcements of Chris Dixon as Chief Executive and Jane Brooks as the Chair of Trustees, representing a new strategic direction for the charity.

Ian’s role is a new position within the organisation and will oversee the range of services Open Sight Hampshire provides. He brings over 20 years of operations experience in the private and public sectors, including his most recent role at The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

Ian, who lives in Portsmouth, lost his sight after being diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a rare eye disease that makes cells in the retina break down slowly over time, causing vision loss. He discovered he had the condition during his driving test 30 years ago. He has a guide dog called Millsey and is an active cricket player.

Ian said:

“I’m very proud to be joining Open Sight Hampshire at a very exciting time. The charity has a rich history and helps a lot of people across the county. I’m looking forward to developing our services even further to meet the needs of people with visual impairments and ensure that whenever anyone needs support it is available. I want to develop lasting partnerships with care providers and community groups so we can support people to thrive.”

Gemma, who lives in Southampton, joins Open Sight Hampshire from Oracle Cancer Trust, one of the UK’s leading national charities dedicated to head and neck cancer. She has more than 10 years of experience in fundraising, communications and events.

Gemma said:

“Philanthropy has a huge part to play in a charity’s activities whether it’s supporting the wide range of services, or outreach engagements, or even supporting the expansion of the team. I’m delighted to be joining Open Sight Hampshire, to enhance their fundraising and communications activity so we can make a positive difference and give visually impaired people a voice.  We have an exciting opportunity to diversify our income and create new streams of financial support to deliver the vital services we provide.”

Chris Dixon said:

“2024 has been a time of change for Open Sight following my own appointment and Jane Brooks, our new chair. The appointment of Ian and Gemma reinforces our commitment to move the organisation forward and raise its profile within Hampshire. Our main priority is meeting the needs of people with visual impairment, with innovative and proactive services. Ian will bring skills, knowledge and lived experience that will be vital in this journey and Gemma will support us to identify funds and support that will enable us to sustain and build upon our goals and aspirations.”

Open Sight Hampshire was established more than 100 years ago and provides a variety of services to help adults and children who have a range of sight conditions. For example, community-based Sight Hubs across the county offer technology support and independent living advice while the eye health awareness and sight loss prevention scheme in schools teaches children about sight loss and the importance of protecting eyes from the sun, having regular eye tests, a healthy diet and exercising regularly as well as the detrimental effects of smoking.


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