Herts charity downsizes due to drop in income

PUBLISHED: 16:41 05 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:19 06 May 2010

A CHARITY is moving into cheaper premises to compensate for a 25 per cent decrease in income. Although there has been a matching increase in demand for support and services in the last year, the Herts Society for the Blind is being forced to relocate from

A CHARITY is moving into cheaper premises to compensate for a 25 per cent decrease in income.

Although there has been a matching increase in demand for support and services in the last year, the Herts Society for the Blind is being forced to relocate from its current office at County Hall, Hertford, to The Woodside Centre, Welwyn Garden City.

Chief Executive Maria Moore says the society, like many other charities, has suffered from falling donations and legacies since the recession began.

"The credit crunch has had a considerable impact on us," she said. "People are having to make the pound in their pockets go further at the moment and can't afford to give as much to charity.

"The lease on our current premises has expired, but the major reason behind the move is the reduced rent and service charges on offer at the new site."

Although there have been more volunteer requests, four paid staff have been made redundant in a further cost-cutting exercise.

According to Mrs Moore, the downturn could not have come at a worse time, with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) forecasting a 20% increase in age-related macular degeneration and a similar increase in cataracts.

Rising levels of obesity - linked to the onset of Type 2 Diabetes - are also expected to result in more cases of eye-related disease in the future.

But an increase in funding from Herts County Council's Adult Care Services, which will contribute towards equipment and services, is helping soften the blow.

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