CEO Blog – Looking back, and looking forward

26 September 2022

Looking back, and looking forward.

I don’t know about you, but I always find this time of year to be one of reflection. Perhaps it’s to do with Summer suddenly moving very quickly into Autumn, with the evenings drawing in. (We should be used to it, as we’ve seen it happen every year, but it’s still always a talking point, and a bit of a surprise).

Maybe all the events of the last couple of weeks, culminating in the Queen’s funeral on Monday, have added an extra layer of reflection and pensiveness too. A mix of thinking back over an extraordinary life; and looking forward to the beginning of a new era.

When I look back over recent years at Helen Arkell, I can see lots of areas where we’ve made progress. We’re now helping more people with dyslexia than we used to. We’re reaching people from a wider geographical area. We’re helping lots more people from lower-income backgrounds with bursary-funded support.

But there’s still something that we continue to be pretty rubbish at. And that’s the next nut that we need to crack if this charity is going to be able to continue increasing the numbers of individuals with dyslexia whom we help each year.

And that particular nut is to grow the number of brilliant supporters who choose to make a gift in their Will to this charity, for the benefit of people with dyslexia. Other charities attract many such benefactors, to a point where as much as half their income comes from that source. And this is the time of year they generally choose to talk about gifts in Wills. (You may have seen both MacMillan and Cancer Research UK advertising legacies during last week’s Bake Off ad breaks).

Last year several amazing people from our Helen Arkell community let me know that they’d either made out a gift to the charity in their Will, or that they planned to do so. Whilst that is absolutely brilliant (and these people are heroes, who will ensure that future generations continue to be helped by this charity) I would dearly love to persuade each and every person in the Helen Arkell community to at least consider updating their Will, and to consider making a gift to this charity, however small.

I would be immensely grateful if you would read our page on Wills, and take action if you feel moved to do so. I have already written the charity into my Will. Mrs F from Northumberland wrote the charity into her Will too, and we received a gift of £5,000 to help us fulfil our mission.

As you will see, it’s not a question of choosing between family and charity – it’s just seeing if you could spare a little gift after you’ve made provision for your nearest and dearest.

And leaving gifts to charities in Wills can bring tax benefits too.

Thank you!


PS As someone who makes a pledge to Helen Arkell in your Will, you will be invited to all our events, so you feel in touch with our innermost plans and activities. Please do let us know if you decide to act on the Wills information, so we can be sure to include you. If you prefer to remain anonymous, that’s fine too.