ViSTA came into being in 2004. Over the years we have prided ourselves in responding to need in our local communities. Taking a pragmatic and flexible approach we have ensured that ViSTA has upheld its responsibilities for public benefit and been diligent in meeting our charitable objectives.
Since the economic down-turn we have seen a reduction in our income and have used our reserve funds to cover the costs of essential back office support necessary to manage and maintain frontline services. We can no longer afford to subsidise frontline services and see no significant change in the financial climate over the coming year. Therefore, reluctantly, the trustees have decided to close the charity at the end of January 2015.
An increasing proportion of our work has been in support of clients with very complex needs. This has been challenging. It is an illusion to think that services such as ours can be delivered entirely by volunteers. We have a mixed team of professional staff and volunteers and in our view can’t make further cuts in our staffing complement without seriously increasing the risk of harm to clients, staff or volunteers. It is obviously not possible to cut essential support costs such as insurance, compliance, premise and communications.
We have always committed ourselves wholeheartedly to our work, to the point that we have previously invested reserves to meet needs in the community. Small charities such as ViSTA are finding life very difficult in the current financial environment and we cannot see it improving. There is a limit to the effort and support ViSTA can give without compromising charitable expectations and our own objectives. The Trustees with the Chief Executive agree that it is the time to move towards a planned closure in January 2015. Many of our funded projects are coming to an end so the time seems right. As a charity we have a duty to provide for our beneficiaries in such a way as “to do no harm”. For this reason we are of the opinion that a gradual, planned closure is the most appropriate course of action. Added to the matter of financial uncertainty is the unexpected death of our recent Chair Simon Milner Barry. Simon’s enthusiasm and commitment has been invaluable to us and he is sadly missed. Finally we would like to give our sincere thanks to all staff and volunteers past and present. They have been magnificent and without them ViSTA would not have been the organisation it is. Special thanks must go to Angela Kerr our Chief Executive who has been in the driving seat throughout and personifies the attitudes and beliefs that we feel has made the organisation so special.
We wish them all the very best for the future.