As we reach the end of another year at Alopecia UK, we reflect on what we have been up to this year and are pleased to provide this 'round-up' of some highlights of 2022.. 

We kicked off the year with the great news in January that Alopecia UK had received funding to study the socioeconomic impact of alopecia areata. The study, funded by Pfizer, has progressed this year and we expect to publish the results in early 2023. We are very excited for publication as we believe this will be the first study which looks at the economic costs of alopecia.

In March, we announced the winner of our first Alopecia Awareness Fund award. Shaday Barrowes-Bayewunmi was awarded funds to support a filmed theatre production to educate the public on the alopecia experience. Read more here.

Later in the same month, our small charity was brought into a media storm following the events at the 2022 Oscars ceremony. We reacted quickly with a blog post that later went on to be quoted in multiple media outlets, with our words read by millions. The blog post remains one of the most read items on our website this year!

In April, we were thrilled to be able to return to Alton Towers for our popular event, after a 2 year break due to the pandemic. 330 attendees joined us for the day of awareness, support and fun! Check out our photos from the day here. (Tickets now on sale for Alton Towers 2023 here)

In May, we said farewell to Jen Chambers after 10 years with the charity. Jen played an instrumental role in taking Alopecia UK from a volunteer-led charity to one with a staff team working on its aims full-time. Amy’s blog from the time of Jen’s departure sums up Jen’s contribution to Alopecia UK.

In June, we were proud to publish the Charter for Best Practice for NHS Wig Provision. We were supported by a number of professional bodies to produce this Charter, which we hope will lead to fairer access to wigs. Read more here.

In the same month, we awarded funding to our 2nd successful Alopecia Awareness Award applicant, Sam McGregor. Sam’s project is a theatre show which aims to raise awareness of alopecia in a positive and entertaining way. More here.

Also in June, we received a National Lottery Award to reinvigorate our face-to-face support for children and teens. The money received has allowed us to pay sessional workers to support the delivery of this. More here.

July saw us return to the British Association of Dermatologists’ annual conference after a hiatus due to the pandemic. It was great for us to be back in front of dermatologists, raising awareness of the new wigs Charter and reminding dermatologists of the psychological impact of hair loss, the power of peer support and the importance of having access to treatments and wigs. More here.

Also in July, we introduced our first ever PhD Bursary, with money received from a generous legacy. An announcement will be made in 2023 regarding the PhD funding to be awarded.

In August, we were excited to return to the Kingswood Activity Centre for our 2nd residential event for children affected by alopecia. We were delighted to welcome 28 families for a weekend of adventure, friendship, confidence-building, and fun! See our photo album here. (Tickets now on sale for Kingswood 2023 here). 

September is Alopecia Awareness Month and in 2022 we recruited lots of Charity Champions to help us raise awareness and funds. This year our Charity Champions raised over £20,000 for Alopecia UK. Read more here.

Also during September, we were thrilled to launch a new area of our website containing new resources for men. We continue to welcome new contributions to this section. Please get in touch if you think you can help us with this. Details here.

September is also the month that we announce the winner of our Hannah Dennis Alopecia Awareness Award. The winner of the 2022 award is Delena. You can read our interview with her Delena here.

At the very end of September, we attended the first ever Barcelona Hair Meeting. The two day conference included 60 speakers and nearly 500 professionals from 51 countries, presenting information on research and treatments against alopecia areata, androgenetic alopecia and scarring alopecias. More about our attendance here.

In October, we said farewell to our Research & Liaison Manager Julie Clayton. In the same month, we were delighted to welcome her replacement, Niels Bootsma, into the role. Excitingly, the role was expanded from 2 to 4 days a week, meaning we are now able to have a more meaningful impact in the Research aim of our charity. More about the staff change here.

In November, we paid out the 3 x Research Pots Awards to the three research projects which were awarded earlier in the year. Applications were so strong that we decided to fund three projects rather than the usual two. These three projects represent an investment of £84,653.00 into research projects in 2022 and takes our spend on research projects to date to £214,000.

In December, we were absolutely thrilled to welcome two new Ambassadors to Alopecia UK, both from the world of sport. Fateh Singh is a cricketer who plays for Nottinghamshire CCC and England. Will Smallbone is a footballer currently playing for Stoke City and the Republic of Ireland. More about them both here. We look forward to expanding our Ambassador team in 2023.

We said farewell to one more staff member as Kelly Young left the charity to continue her career and education. A new Volunteer Manager will start in the new year.

As well as all the events highlighted in this round-up, we have also continued to provide all our day-to-day activities in our aims of Support, Awareness and Research. Notably, we have reinvigorated our adult face-to-face meetings whilst also continuing to offer online meetings, continued to work with our Youth Voice Board (see their active and engaging Instagram account here), expanded the FAQs sections on our website, represented the patient voice in meetings with the British Association of Dermatologists, Dermatology Council of England and other organisations.

Importantly, we have attended meetings with the National Institute for Health Care and Excellence (NICE) regarding the possibility of new treatments being approved for the treatment of alopecia areata. We are ensuring that the patient experience and psychological impact of alopecia is fully understood and are advocating for new treatment options to be made available. We are also working hard to stay up to date with the latest developments with JAK inhibitor drugs and ensure we provide the best information we can to our community, such as this update.  We will continue to attend meetings regarding these possible new treatments in 2023 and beyond.

All of the above has been delivered by a small team of 3 full-time and 3 part-time members of staff. We couldn’t do any of this work without the support of those who fundraise and donate to us throughout the year. It is why we are asking this December, ‘Do you believe in Alopecia UK?’. If the answer is yes, we would really welcome your support by way of a regular monthly gift or one-off donation. If you believe in our work, show us your support here.

A HUGE thank you to everyone who has supported us this year. Our volunteers, donors, fundraisers, Research Committee, Lay Panel, Trustees, plus anyone who has helped to progress our aims of Support, Awareness and Research.

It’s been a busy year and we are sure 2023 will be no different. We currently have a job vacancy to join the team at Alopecia UK. We are looking for a Finance and Administration Coordinator to work with our Operations Manager in our office in Shipley, West Yorkshire. If you think this role might be suitable for you, find out more here.

And finally, we are working hard behind the scenes to get ready for the return of our Big Weekend event in Birmingham in March. It will be our first Big Weekend since 2019. We would LOVE to see you there. Tickets available here