A former MSP has been appointed to establish a policy function at Scotland’s largest visual impairment organisation.
Richard Baker, who was a Member of the Scottish Parliament for the North East Scotland region between 2003 and 2016, has been appointed as Policy Manager for sister charities, Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded, together known as Royal Blind Group.
For the last two years Richard has been working in a similar role for Age Scotland, where he was Policy and Communications Manager.
Richard said: “I am delighted to be joining Royal Blind in this new role for the charity.
“Royal Blind has a deep understanding of the issues affecting people living with visual impairment, and this informs the charity’s ambition for a Scotland which better includes and supports visually impaired people in the future. I look forward to working with my new colleagues to make the case for policy developments which promote positive change for people living with visual impairment.”
As Scotland’s largest visual impairment organisation, Royal Blind cares for, educates and empowers visually impaired people across Scotland.
Royal Blind Group’s new policy and research function is likely to tackle issues such as education, care for older people and transition services for young people with complex needs.
Chief Executive, Mark O’Donnell, said the role had been created to ensure that the issues affecting people with sight loss of all ages are taken to local and national government.
He said: “For nearly 225 years Royal Blind has been providing care, education and employment for visually impaired people through its services in Scotland.
“With the number of people living with sight loss in Scotland expected to double by 2050 in line with population ageing, it is more important than ever to ensure that the challenges facing visually impaired people are taken into account by politicians in charge of implementing policy.
“This new function is part of our commitment to improving the lives of people of all ages living with sight loss across the country. I am sure that Richard, with experience of working in public affairs and his knowledge of issues affecting older people and veterans from his time at Age Scotland will be very successful in this role.
“On behalf of everyone at Royal Blind Group, I would like to welcome him to the organisation.”