Tunbridge Wells charity Tree of Hope has appointed David Grist as its new finance manager.
Mr Grist, 48, has extensive experience in the finance, legal and leisure sectors and has been working as an accountant for one of the oldest legal firms in the county, Buss Murton.
Tree of Hope, which is based on Little Mount Sion, offers support to children with specialist needs and their families.
Mr Grist says his key objective is to ensure that the charity follows good business practice in its financial processes.
“I’m working with an amazingly committed team at Tree of Hope who totally relate to the families they support,” he said.
“I want to ensure that what is accepted best practice in business is consistently applied to the charity model.
“It’s a case of making sure systems and controls are in place that keep Tree of Hope effective financially.”
The charity supports around 800 families who are raising funds to pay for specialist treatment, therapies and equipment which are not freely available on the NHS.
Mr Grist added: “The key principles are efficiency, effectiveness and economies of scale. We have a responsibility to the families that we support to ensure that we help them make the most of their fundraising.
“Being supported by Tree of Hope means that they are able to claim Gift Aid, which immediately increases some of their fundraising by 25 per cent.
“And having charitable status means they are able to raise much more money than by going it alone – more than £4million was raised last year alone.”
He feels empathy for the parents of children who are supported by the charity because his own son Charlie, seven, was diagnosed with leukaemia last year.
Mr Grist remembers the shock when the diagnosis was made. “The bottom just dropped out of our world,” he said.
“Thankfully, after chemotherapy, Charlie is now in remission. But it has given me an understanding of how parents feel when their child is given a diagnosis that will change their lives.”
For information about Tree of Hope visit: www.treeofhope.org.uk