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hilary evans

Hilary Evans
Chief Executive, Alzheimer’s Research UK

For too long, dementia has been misunderstood. Either feared as an inevitable part of ageing, or dismissed as simply ‘forgetfulness’. Continuing misperceptions about dementia can lead people to conclude, wrongly, that nothing can be done. But at Alzheimer’s Research UK, we are challenging the public to think again.

That’s why this year, we launched our first awareness campaign to address misunderstanding about dementia. With a refreshed look and feel for the charity, and a powerful new message, we aim to inspire people to join our fightback. It’s time for us to recognise the reality: dementia is caused by diseases, and diseases can be fought and beaten through research.

Our message is hitting home. We’re one of the most talked about charities this year according to the YouGov charity index, and we’ve seen support for our cause grow in the past 12 months – with donations increasing by an incredible 22%. It means we’ve been able to drive £9.3m into our research programmes. Thanks to you, over the past year we’ve been able to kick-start major initiatives such as our world-leading Drug Discovery Alliance: initiatives that will help to change the future for people with dementia.

This is just the start. Dementia is the greatest medical challenge we face, but at Alzheimer’s Research UK we have a clear vision and the ambition to beat it – the fightback has begun.


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Research has the power to defeat dementia and we support the highest quality studies with the greatest potential. Thanks to our £100m Defeat Dementia campaign, this year we have:

  • Launched our Drug Discovery Alliance, a £30m network of Drug Discovery Institutes in Cambridge, Oxford and London, working to translate promising research into much-needed new treatments.
  • Opened the £2m Alzheimer’s Research UK Stem Cell Research Centre in Cambridge. Its scientists are gaining new understanding about Alzheimer’s, and testing compounds that could hold potential as treatments.
  • Started a new chapter for a landmark 69-year study, the MRC National Survey of Health and Development. With £3m funding from Alzheimer’s Research UK, volunteers from the study are now involved in groundbreaking research to understand risk factors and early markers for dementia.
  • Funded our first projects through the Dementia Consortium. Scientists in Southampton and in Trieste, Italy, are putting this funding to work developing new treatments.
  • Joined forces with funders in the US and Canada to participate in two global funding schemes, addressing key unanswered questions in dementia research.

Number of published papers from Alzheimer’s or dementia studies supported by UK fundraising charities in 2014:

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Drug Discovery Alliance:
a world first for dementia

It’s now 12 years since the last dementia drug was licensed in the UK, and the Alzheimer’s Research UK Drug Discovery Alliance is placing a focus on new treatment approaches.

A world first, the Alliance will see a co-ordinated effort across three Institutes at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and UCL (University College London). Each will have a unique focus, with knowledge shared between centres to speed up progress.

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Work at our Drug Discovery Institutes is led by our three Chief Scientific Officers: Dr John Skidmore, Dr John Davis and Prof Paul Whiting. Bringing a wealth of drug discovery experience, these experts are building world-class research teams who will work to fast-track promising science into benefits for people with dementia.


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Despite increasing public attention for dementia, understanding is low: less than a quarter of people recognise that dementia is caused by brain diseases, and many see the condition as a natural by-product of age. This year we stepped up our campaign to challenge misperceptions and rally a social movement behind research to defeat dementia. We have:

  • Launched our first national awareness campaign, backed by celebrities Seth Rogen, James Nesbitt and Arlene Phillips, with a poignant appearance by the late Sir Terry Pratchett. This powerful campaign reached our biggest ever audience with the message that dementia can be beaten through research.
  • Refreshed our brand to help us inspire and motivate a new generation of people. We are connecting with increasing numbers of supporters who want to join our fightback.
  • Provided vital information about dementia to thousands through our Dementia Research Infoline, our health information leaflets and our website. Through Join Dementia Research, our Infoline team contributed to a 60% increase in people taking part in UK studies.
  • Provided an expert voice on dementia research in the news and – with help from our media volunteers – educated on the human impact of dementia.
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Join Dementia Research:
Boosting participation to accelerate progress

This year saw the national roll-out of Join Dementia Research, a partnership between the National Institute for Health Research, Alzheimer’s Research UK, Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer Scotland. The service allows people with and without dementia to take part in clinical studies – people like Susie Hewer, whose mum Peggy fought a long battle with vascular dementia.

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"It was hugely distressing to see this dreadful disease turn my gentle mum into a furious and aggressive person. After she died, I knew I wanted to do everything in my power to help research. Join Dementia Research is a fantastic service that’s been sorely needed – if we’re going to beat dementia we have to get ordinary people involved. Since signing up, I’ve been recruited into a study to investigate how the brain changes with age and understand the risk factors for dementia. Being involved in research gives me hope that I’m making a difference."

Susie Hewer


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Our scientists are making progress, but we can’t tackle a challenge this big alone. That’s why we campaign for action from our political leaders, and strive to keep dementia research firmly on the agenda. In the past year, we have:

  • Campaigned to make dementia research funding a priority, securing commitments in election manifestos for investment and a renewal of the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge. In March the Government launched its new vision for tackling dementia.
  • Helped continue the work of the G7 Global Action Against Dementia programme, fostering discussions to improve regulation and access to new therapies.
  • Become part of the $100m Dementia Discovery Fund, alongside the UK Government and leading pharmaceutical companies, to support innovative drug discovery projects.
  • Raised awareness of the disproportionate impact of dementia on women, with our report Women and Dementia: A Marginalised Majority, and challenged the stigma of dementia with a joint report highlighting the experiences of people with the condition.
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Women hit hardest
by dementia

Our report, Women and Dementia: A Marginalised Majority, showed that not only is dementia the leading cause of death for women, but that women are more likely to become carers for people with the condition. Behind the statistics are stories of women like Shaheen Larrieux, who gave up a high-flying career when her mother Hosna was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.

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"Mum first started showing symptoms some years ago when her behaviour began to change, but at first no-one attributed it to a medical issue. It was a long battle to get a diagnosis, and with little support available, I acted as Mum’s main carer for a long time. Even now we have regular carers, making sure her needs are met can still be a full-time job. This disease has affected everyone in the family: slowly the doors started shutting in terms of living as part of a community. People’s fear of dementia can leave families like ours isolated – that’s why better awareness about the condition, and about research, is so important. People need to know that there is hope."

Shaheen Larrieux


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The generosity of thousands of people across the country powers our fightback against dementia, and support for our cause is growing – that’s why we were named Fundraising Charity of the Year at the National Fundraising Awards. This year, we have:

  • Increased our army of supporters, with over 10,000 people making regular donations to our work.
  • Launched an exciting partnership with parkrun, bringing news of our work to thousands of parkrunners, many of whom have also fundraised for us. They join the ranks of our dedicated fundraisers who have run marathons, climbed mountains and held events of all sizes to boost our research.
  • Welcomed new corporate supporters whose staff embraced our mission. AXA Commercial Lines and Personal Intermediary, Waitrose online, The Perfume Shop and The Bank of England are just a few of the many organisations supporting us.
  • Launched the Insight 46 initiative, bringing together individuals and organisations to fund groundbreaking research into the risk factors and early signs of dementia. Their generosity is allowing us to gain new insight from a unique 69-year study, the MRC National Survey of Health and Development.
  • Made significant progress in our £100m Defeat Dementia campaign, laying the foundations on which to build an even bigger movement to power transformational research.

A 16,000-mile journey
to power the fightback

Chris Graham, 39, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2010. He carries a rare gene that causes Alzheimer’s at a young age – a disease that claimed the lives of other family members in their 40s. In April, Chris embarked on a 16,000-mile cycle ride around North America to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

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"I started to plan this challenge before I was diagnosed, and I wasn’t going to let Alzheimer’s stop me from undertaking the trip of a lifetime. It’s so important to me to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s Research UK – even though it might be too late for me to benefit, I want to contribute to research that can give others hope. The support I’ve received since starting my challenge has been amazing, and I’m hoping my small wheel tracks will make a big impression and a real difference to research.

Humans are survivors. We put a man on the moon, so why can’t we cure dementia?

Chris Graham

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We rely on the support of the public to be able to fund our work. This was a record year for Alzheimer’s Research UK, with donations increasing by an amazing 22% - allowing us to invest more than ever in our charitable activities.

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One-Off & Regular Donors
Community Fundraisers
Corporate Partners
Local Prevalence
Charitable Trusts & Foundations
Research Network
Research Collaborations
People with Dementia

It takes a lot to make a charity. Alzheimer’s Research UK’s work is only possible because of the support of thousands of individuals and organisations up and down the country – so many that we don’t have room to name everyone here.

We would like to thank the following supporters and organisations for their exceptional contributions:

  • Peter & Madeleine Baines, Catherine Baxter, Chris Case, Mr & Mrs Clarke, Stephen & Suzanne Cronin, David Disney, The Duffy Family, Christopher Graham, Mr & Mrs Judd, James Hamilton, John McGrath, Karen Slatford
  • The Alborada Trust, Alzheimer’s Foundation, Awareness Fund, The BACIT Foundation, The Cadogan Charity, The Childwick Trust, CHK Charities Ltd, Peter Dixon Charitable Trust, The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, Margaret Giffen Charitable Trust, The David and Claudia Harding Foundation, Houghton Dunn Charitable Trust, The Jordan Charitable Foundation, Philip King Charitable Trust, John Laing Charitable Trust, The Kirby Laing Foundation, The Lewy Body Society, The Lyndal Tree Foundation, The R S Macdonald Charitable Trust, The Masonic Samaritan Fund, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, The Peacock Charitable Trust, Pilkington Charities Fund, The Revere Charitable Trust, The Saintbury Trust, The Schuh Trust, The Stafford Trust, John Swire 1989 Charitable Trust, Constance Travis Charitable Trust, Sylvia Waddilove Foundation UK
  • AXA Commercial Lines and Personal Intermediary, Best Companies Ltd, BNY Mellon (London), Cobird Ltd, The FD Centre Ltd, Iceland Foods Ltd, Insight Investment, Legal & General Assurance Society Ltd, G W Midgley and Sons, PageGroup, The Perfume Shop, Pilot FX Ltd, Procter and Gamble Prestige, Reed Smith LLP, Wilkinson’s Hardware Stores Ltd
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Thank You.

Thank you to the following people and organisations who have supported Insight 46:

David Barnett, Julian & Jenny Cazalet, Rupert Thompson, The Hoover Foundation, The Eric and Margaret Kinder Charitable Trust, Michael Power, Mark Loveday, Hugh Priestley, The Ranworth Trust 1985

We would like to thank everyone who has remembered us through a Gift in their Will this year, and the many supporters who have chosen to remain anonymous.

View our Annual Report and Accounts
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