Sight for Surrey has named Patrick McCord as its new chairman, succeeding Alan Howell after his six-year tenure.

Mr McCord started his career at Kent County Council, after graduating from Leeds University, before being recruited by Mole Valley District Council in 2007 where he has worked in a variety of roles including community safety and development and strategic partnership working.  He is currently the Council’s Partnerships and Development Manager.

Diagnosed with Juvenile Macular Dystrophy (Stargardts) in 1996, aged 17, Mr McCord has been a Sight for Surrey service user and is passionate about promoting disability equality.

The change in personnel coincides with exciting times for the charity, as it has recently won two new contracts which will radically increase its ability to offer low vision services across Surrey.

Jointly with Surrey’s hearing services provider, FirstPoint, the charity will provide a mobile sensory bus for Surrey people with vision loss, hearing loss or combined sight and hearing loss.  In teaming up with 4Sight of West Sussex, Sight for Surrey will provide low vision assessments in East Surrey and West Sussex hospitals. Crucially, together they will be able to clear a 13-month low vision assessment waiting list left by the current provider.

Mr McCord said: “I am delighted to become chairman of Sight for Surrey at such an exciting time and am confident that our new contracts will enhance the comprehensive service we already provide and will allow us to reach more people with a vision impairment in Surrey.

“It is reassuring to have Alan Howell remain on the Board of Trustees, as he has shown vast commitment to implementing and maintaining the objectives of our charity in the last six years.”

Bob Hughes, Chief Executive, said: “We welcome Patrick in his new role as chairman.  Having already been a Trustee for two years, I know he will bring valuable skills and passion to this role to further progress our work across Surrey.

“Alan has been a great asset to our charity, offering his acute business acumen to progress the charity in recent years as well as valuable advice on maximising our service provision to people with a vision impairment.”