Keith Arscott has been appointed new Chief Development Officer of Chawton House Library, the Hampshire study centre for English women’s writing from 1600 to 1830 and home to rare manuscripts by authors including Jane Austen and Mary Shelley.

The post has been created to focus on new areas of funding and development and increase legacies and major donations from individuals.

“The charity’s just celebrated its 10th anniversary and so now it’s about ensuring financial stability for the next 10 years and beyond,” said Keith Arscott.

He added: “Expanding the charity’s collection of books and paintings and so helping to preserve and promote our country’s literary heritage is a priority.

“Additional funding will also help support specific projects, such as creating a wilderness garden and re-instating a Regency glasshouse in the walled garden on the estate, which is part of the South Downs National Park.”

Arscott was previously Director of Contact the Elderly, a national charity that helps tackle loneliness and isolation in older people. Under his leadership, funding income increased by a third, as a result of greater focus and direction.

Prior to Contact the Elderly, Arscott worked at senior level in marketing and communications in the finance sector.

Steve Lawrence, Chawton House Library’s Chief Executive, said: “We’ve grown from being a start-up project in 2003 to an established charity that has long-term sustainability in mind.”

He added: “We want to take on a wider array of projects and with an historic book collection, house and gardens to restore and preserve there comes an inevitable and incessant demand for funding.

“By creating this new role and bringing on board Keith’s experience in fundraising and business development, we hope that Chawton House Library and its heritage will be something that major donors in the future will choose to support and invest in.”

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