After 10 years with Alopecia UK, our Charity Development Manager Jen Chambers is leaving the staff team at the end of May to work for a charity that provides mental health services for children and young people in Cumbria. 

From initially volunteering to eventually working for Alopecia UK, Jen has been instrumental in taking the charity from being entirely volunteer-led responding to emails on evenings and weekends from spare rooms to having six members of staff and an office. The difference between what a charity can achieve with volunteers alone and having a staff team working on it full-time should not be underestimated. 

Jen says: "The time feels right. After ten years with Alopecia UK, I've stayed longer than I ever intended. My main aim was to achieve sustainability to ensure that no matter who comes and goes, the charity would still stand. To ensure that Alopecia UK is here for as long as it is needed. I feel AUK is in a strong position with a brilliant Staff Team, Trustee Board, Research Committee, Volunteer Team and Alopecia Community. I know that in Sue, as CEO, we have found a safe pair of hands to continue the development of Alopecia UK and enter the next chapter."

Alopecia UK's CEO Sue Schilling says: "If Alopecia UK were a tree, then Jen would be the sun and rain feeding energy and goodness into the soil so that the roots and branches are spread wide and planted strongly.  It’s because of Jen’s entrepreneurship, dedication, and hard work that Alopecia UK has the solidity it has today.  Thousands of people have engaged with AUK over the past 10 years, in support groups, online, at events, and through research and healthcare. Not all of them will know Jen personally but all are impacted by the charity's work because of her.  That is some legacy!  I feel a huge sense of responsibility to honour Jen’s work and to grow it further, to grow a mighty Alopecia UK tree, always drawing sustenance from its strong roots."

Alopecia UK's Chair of Trustees Simon Ray adds: "It is astonishing to look back at what has been achieved in Jen's time at Alopecia UK.  Many who know her, will attest to Jen's tenacity in building a charity for those with alopecia. I recall one of our first meetings when we discussed me joining the Trustee board; her integrity and professionalism shone through as she tested me to ensure I was the right fit. Back in the early days, the charity just had the dedicated commitment of Jen and Amy, working from their bedrooms on a voluntary basis and over time this has transformed into a charity employing many people, opening a full-time office and increasing its annual income to one that allows us to do so much more.

As Jen moves to pastures new, which was always the plan, what she leaves is a solid legacy that we can all be proud of but Jen, in particular, can look back on with pride and satisfaction of a job exceptionally well done. AUK is a far cry from where Jen and Amy picked it up all those years ago. It is reassuring to know that those with alopecia in the past and the future have, and will, benefit from that legacy.  I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude on behalf of the Trustee board and wish Jen well for the future."

Jen ends with: "I want to thank everyone who has been a part of my 10 years with AUK. I have met so many wonderful people over the years and I hope to continue to see lots of you at future events. If I'm not volunteering, I'm sure I'll be attending them!"

Jen has written a blog post expanding on her departure which you can read here. And Jen's wingwoman for the past 10 years, Amy, has written a blog reflecting on Jen's time with the charity which you can read here

A huge thank you to Jen for everything she has done for Alopecia UK and the alopecia community over the past decade.

We have a Farewell Fundraiser page should anyone impacted by Jen's work over the past 10 years feel like they would like to leave a little acknowledgement. 

Visit Jen's Farewell Fundraiser here