Charity merger set to strengthen advocacy for blind and low vision people
4 April 2019 at 4:32 pm
Two blindness and low vision charities are joining forces to form a single peak body for service providers working in the sector.
The boards of the Australian Blindness Forum (ABF) and Vision 2020 Australia have agreed to a merger to combine their efforts advocating for improved services, systems, and opportunities for people who are blind or have low vision.
This new peak body – Vision 2020 Australia – will work to build stronger connections within the sector.
Vision 2020 Australia CEO Judith Abbott said this merger was an exciting opportunity to ensure resources in the sector were focused in the most effective way.
“The combined experience and expertise of the two organisations will help us achieve the best possible outcome for people who are blind or have low vision, and ensure their voices are clearly heard on a range of important issues,” Abbott said.
As a small organisation, ABF decided the best way to survive was to integrate into a larger organisation like Vision 2020 Australia.
The decision was initially driven by the charities’ member organisations, which noted the strong overlap in membership between the two groups.
Rosemary Spry, the executive officer of ABF, told Pro Bono News the merger would reduce this membership overlap and unify the sector.
“In essence the integration of the two organisations will strengthen collective impact, increase benefits for people who are blind or have low vision and the organisations that support them,” Spry said.
Both organisations expect the merger to proceed fairly smoothly, although they note it will take some time for things to be fully integrated.
To support a smooth transition period, ABF chair Dale Cleaver will join the Vision 2020 Australia board, filling a casual vacancy until the organisation’s next annual general meeting in November this year.
Cleaver said the coming together of ABF and Vision 2020 Australia would provide a single strong voice for services providers and the blind and low vision people they served.
“As a unified peak body we will maintain and build on the existing momentum and expertise across the two organisations,” Cleaver said.