TORBAY’s King of Fundraisers is bowing out, having raised more than £12.5m for the charity and voluntary sector.

Robin Causley, Community Funding Advisor with Torbay Community Development Trust, is retiring after more than 30 years in the voluntary sector in the Bay.

Back in 1990, he became CEO of a new organisation, Age Concern Torbay, with a ‘blank canvas’ to develop much-needed support for older people,  a part of the population growing faster in the Bay than elsewhere in the country.

Whilst in the role, one new service he helped bring to fruition was the Handyperson Scheme, which was nominated for an award as best National Lottery-funded project in the country, with the Awards Ceremony broadcast on TV, hosted by Noel Edmonds.

He was also elected Chair of the national Age Concern Campaigns and Public Policy Committee, which had a significant positive impact on the policy-making and legislative agenda of the government of the time.

After leaving Age Concern, he originally joined Community Voluntary Action Torbay, which became the TCDT. Since then, he has helped groups and organisations find funding ranging from a few hundred pounds to several hundred thousand pounds in total £12,621,153.

He has also been instrumental in setting up and administering the Torbay Community grants scheme with funding from Torbay Council, which has so far helped upwards of 470 projects across the Bay.

He is also first with the news of the latest funding opportunities, emailed several times a week to his extensive mailing list of more than 500 groups and organisations.

In his own words: “It has been great to see so many utilising this information and applying for the grants available; with an ever-growing number being successful. Though of course, the downside to the job is groups being turned down when they’ve put so much time and effort into their bids.”

“It has been a real privilege working for and with so many brilliant VCSE groups, of all shapes and sizes and being able to help their staff, volunteers or trustees, in one way or another, across a range of causes: mental and physical health, children and young people, older people, disabilities, environment and conservation, heritage and culture, neighbourhood and community development, sport, animal welfare, etcetera,” he said before adding: “I have nothing but admiration for the huge contribution our local VCSE sector makes In Torbay-often “below the radar” and too often not given the credit and recognition it deserves.”

TCDT director Tracey Cabache said of Robin: “It’s been an absolute honour to work alongside Robin for the past 15 years. He has not only dedicated himself to supporting all of the voluntary sector groups in the Bay – he does so with grace and humility. Our sector is losing one of its founding fathers. He will be greatly missed, but it is a retirement that is well deserved.”

Another tribute was paid by Pat Harris, who worked alongside Robin in the early days of Age Concern Torbay and is now CEO of Healthwatch and Engaging Communities South West: “He is a very well respected and recognised individual who has played a pivotal role in the well being of our community in Torbay. Although retiring, we hope he will still play an active role in our community,” she said.