Visionary Briefing Christmas Edition and Interim CEO Announcement

Visionary Briefing Christmas Edition

Visionary Interim CEO

We are delighted to announce that Fiona Sandford, currently CEO of Visibility in Scotland, will be taking on the role of interim CEO of Visionary when Alison Oliver goes on maternity leave in March 2018. Read more


Visionary Highlights

As another year draws to a close we want to wish you a Happy Christmas and say thank you to all of you for your support this year. As we share our festive good wishes, we would also like to reflect on some of the great things that we have done together over the last 12 months. This builds on from the Visionary Highlights document that we have previously shared to highlight some of the more hands on ways we can work together, which you might not already be aware of.

Although we have examples and anecdotal feedback of our work with members, we also want to formally evaluate our impact. To help us with this, we encourage all full members to complete our Members’ Survey, if you have not already done so, before it closes on Friday 22 December 2017. It should only take about 15 minutes.

CEO’s, leaders, managers and trustees of Visionary members regularly contact us simply to talk to a trusted critical friend who can provide a confidential and objective view upon their issue.  Such topics often cover business development, operational problem solving, personnel issues, board/trustee relationship developments and financial challenges. Due to the sometimes sensitive nature of such enquires, we often aren’t able to share details about the support activity we are involved in, but please remember that this service is there and that you can contact us if you want to discuss how we could support you.

Over the past year, our support has included:

  • Working with senior management to provide a business case for implementing an electronic database to present to their board and potential funders;
  • Supporting several smaller member organisations (typically with less than £150k income per year) with operational and strategic support on the management of their finances, in some cases avoiding a major financial crisis for them;
  • Helping member organisations to access specialist HR and other advice which, in one case, saw them swiftly resolve what could have been an expensive and protracted HR issue;
  • Helping members with their business plans – especially their financial and operational plans – and turning business plans and strategy documents into single page summaries so that members can better communicate the plans to staff, volunteers, service users and external partners;
  • Attending Board meetings to assist with planning discussions;
  • Supporting recruitment through placing adverts, assisting with the creation of job descriptions and sitting on interview panels;
  • Helping members with their sub-contractor management and providing them with examples of different sub-contract agreements;
  • Helping to write successful tenders/bids for services, including a £300k lottery bid;
  • Supporting with reviewing legacy giving leaflets and identifying ways of talking about legacies that bring about the best return on investment;
  • Linking members applying for funding to deliver specific projects with other members who have run similar successful projects;
  • Helping to set up social media accounts for a small member organisation, enabling them to promote their activities and events, and share information to a wider audience;
  • Carrying out ‘Measuring Up’ assessments with staff teams and senior management to help organisations assess their current impact measurement and action plans for improvement;
  • Helping with the designing and carrying out of evaluation activities to assess strengths and areas for improvement of members’ volunteering service and group activities;
  • Presenting at a member’s event for working age people on solutions to barriers from entering into and progressing in the workplace;
  • Promoting the Looking out for Sight – Visual Impairment Awareness Training to members;
  • Presenting at a regional event to discuss the Seeing it My Way outcomes and how they can be used to map services and support blind and partially sighted people to access more support in their area;
  • Signposting members to other organisations providing volunteer resources to support with recruitment, retention and development  of volunteers.

This is an overview and some examples of the types of support that we can and do provide to our member organisations, in addition to some of the more strategic initiatives we are working on at a national level. As we are still a fairly small team we do have a number of processes in place for allocating resources in line with priorities and our own capacity limitations so we can’t promise that we will always be able to help. However, we would love to try and, if you would like some support, or just to have a chat about what we might be able to do for you, please do not hesitate to contact your Regional Lead from the core staff team, or the Member Engagement Team on 020 8090 9264 or

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and look forward to working with you further in 2018.

Alison, Andy, Alexa, Emma, Michelle, Jen, Giulia, Neera, Russell and Kyle