Announced on the 13th of December, assistive technology charity Designability revealed the departure of Chief Executive Nigel Harris, who has led the charity since 2009.

Nigel has overseen considerable growth in the charity, which has doubled in size since 1999. During this time, Designability has introduced the Wizzybug Loan Scheme, which provides free, independent powered mobility to over 400 children around the UK.

More recently, Nigel led a multicentre £2million project, called CHIRON, to develop a customisable modular robot system that aims to support new models of care at home and enable people with physical disabilities to live independently.

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Nigel will step down from the role early in the New Year, after nine years in post he will be leaving to focus on his academic research work at the University of Bath and the University of the West of England.

At the charity’s 50th anniversary celebration in July, Nigel announced that the ACT Foundation has agreed to fund the construction of a new home for Designability and launched an appeal to raise the final £750,000 needed to fit out the new building.

Nigel said: “It has been a real privilege for me to have led the team through such a period of sustained growth in our work. Over the past 50 years we have helped more than 250,000 people and I am pleased to have played my part in this.

“It is an exciting time for the charity, as we celebrate our 50th anniversary and plan for our new home.”

Catharine Brown will take on the Chief Executive role in February 2019. She brings 15 years’ experience of charity leadership, having led the fundraising and marketing activities of a number of national charities, and latterly working as a consultant advising charity CEOs and Boards on strategy and leadership development. Her early career was in commercial marketing at brands including Marks & Spencer and The Economist.

Nigel added: “We have a great team and are looking forward to Catharine bringing her wealth of experience to Designability to continue our growth moving forward, extending our reach to even more people who could benefit from our products in everyday life.”

Designability is a national charity which helps disabled people and those living with a long-term health condition through the design of assistive technology.

The charity’s 50th anniversary appeal seeks to raise the remaining £750,000 needed to make the new Designability house a home. The money will go towards fitting out the workshop space, expanding the staff team and ensuring that the new building meets all the requirements of the people that the charity supports.

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