United Response snaps up Lightfoot from NCVO

United Response (UR), the charity that helps people with learning difficulties integrate into the community, has hired the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) head of marcoms, Dianne Lightfoot, to direct communications and fundraising

Lightfoot takes up the post on 1 March as UR prepares to mark its 30th anniversary. She replaces Penny Cole, who is leaving UR to go into freelance PR and journalism.

‘The comms challenge in the immediate future is to use the anniversary to raise UR’s profile in such a way as to encourage others to be more inclusive,’ said Cole. The charity is holding a business breakfast at Barclays Bank’s London HQ in March, where companies such as Debenhams, Yahoo and Clifford Chance will learn how to make their websites more accessible to people with learning disabilities.

A further event at the Houses of Parliament later this year will show MPs how to make themselves more accessible to constituents. UR’s main competitor is Mencap.

Lightfoot will lead a team of two PROs, three fundraisers and one policy-maker, and will report to UR founder and chief executive Sue Sayer. The NCVO said it had yet to replace her.

According to Cole, UR wants to boost funds raised from central government and those distributed locally through bodies such as the Learning & Skills Council from £378,000 last year to £500,000 by March 2005.

The charity had a £36m turnover in the year to the end of March 2003.

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