About us Our history Our history Timeline 2004: Alopecia UK First Established Alopecia UK was established in 2004 by Vicky Rees (nee Spencer Bowdage) with the aim of creating a website, as there was a lack of information available online at that time. 2005: Official Charitable Status Granted 2005 -2012: The Early Years During this time Alopecia UK established a structure for volunteers, the Management Committee and of course a panel of Trustees. Subsequently the charity developed an online forum, supported a network of face to face support groups, introduced a membership scheme, developed a suppliers' directory and email account for questions. These early years were a real family effort with Vicky being supported by her mum, dad, sister and brother-in-law, all of whom took on various volunteer roles of admin, treasurer and/or trustee. All the hard work undertaken in the charity’s early years, provided the foundation for the charity that exists today. 2012-2013: Transition Period During 2012 and 2013, as more people began to get involved in Alopecia UK, the Spencer-Bowdage family gradually stepped down from Alopecia UK in order to focus on growing families and to pursue long-held career ambitions. It was during this period that, now staff members Jen Chambers & Amy Johnson along with long term volunteer Jackie Tomlinson, invested ever increasing amounts of volunteer time into the Charity, which was a key element to the success of this transition period. 2013: Alopecia UK Hosts a Flashmob Event On 1st September 2013, led by Jen Chambers & Amy Johnson, Alopecia UK held its very first large scale awareness event, bringing together a group of people with alopecia, from all over the UK, in Liverpool for a flashmob. A video was created and shared widely on social media platforms to raise awareness of alopecia throughout September (alopecia awareness month). 2013: £20,000 Donation Received from European Hair Research Society (EHRS) Following Alopecia UK’s attendance at the World Congress for Hair Research in 2013, including an inspiring presentation from our then Chair of Trustees Jackie Tomlinson, the EHRS gave a £20,000 donation to the charity. The money was used to fund a Hair Loss Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) to establish priorities for research. 2014: Introduction of First Staff Resource In 2014 Alopecia UK was at a stage where it could finally invest in staff resource. Jen Chambers and Amy Johnson became our first paid staff, providing the charity with the consistent resource it desperately needed to fulfil its aims. 2014: First Alton Towers Event 2014: First Big Weekend Event in London 2015: Priorities for Research Established The Hair Loss PSP published two top ten lists for priorities for research in November 2015, following a consultation that began in January 2014. 2016: BBC Eggheads Win of £29,000 In March 2016, a team of 5 ladies with alopecia, put together by our ambassador Sue Hampton, beat the BBC’s ‘Eggheads’ to win £29,000 for Alopecia UK. The team kindly donated their winnings resulting in the single-biggest donation to the charity. 2016: Alopecia UK Moves into its First Office In September 2016, Alopecia UK moved into its first ever office premises meaning that finally, after years of working from spare bedrooms and dining room tables, the charity had its own, much-needed space. 2017: Merger between Alopecia UK and Autoimmune Alopecia Research UK Autoimmune Alopecia Research UK (AAR-UK) was founded by Jayne Waddell in 2012 to further research into alopecia. On 1st November 2017, after months of talks and legal review, Alopecia UK & AAR-UK formally merged. The name 'Alopecia UK' remained, as it best represented the national charity. The AAR-UK Trustees joined the AUK Trustee Board, with the combined board steering the future direction of Alopecia UK. 2017: New Logo for Alopecia UK The new logo was inspired by a dandelion. The dandelion, like alopecia, has associations with loss. While we did want to incorporate this element we also wanted a logo that would feel very positive, with a shape that would feel distinctive and stand out from the crowd (also like alopecia). There is a nod towards hair loss with some florets missing and a space in the middle which could be seen as a patch of alopecia. Our choice of colours were important combining key colours that had become synonymous with both charities, the blue from AUK and the pink from AAR-UK. Although based on the dandelion concept, we like that the final shape is actually open to interpretation with our previewers saying that it looked like a flower, a firework and a starburst. Our new logo was designed by Robert Newman of Toasted. 2018: New Charity Administrator In February 2018, we employed our third team member Naomi Hall. Joining Alopecia UK as our Charity Administrator, Naomi provides invaluable support to the admin functions of the office and quickly became our resident website whizz! 2018: New Website, New Start! In May 2018 we launched a new website which represented the start of a new chapter for Alopecia UK. 2018: Alopecia E-Learning Module for GPs Launched Our E-Learning module for GPs went live in May 2018. Developed with the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), the module is designed to improve GPs' understanding of alopecia, and as a result, improve the patient experience. 2018: First Alopecia UK Research Funding Call In July 2018 we put out our first Research Funding Call and as a result invested £19,925 into two research studies; 'Characterising the role of antigen presenting cells in alopecia areata' and 'Coeliac Disease and Micronutrient Deficiency in Alopecia Areata; Association or Coincidence?'. Details of both can be found here. 2018: Short Documentary Film 'Shedding' is Released In Alopecia Awareness Month 2018, our documentary film Shedding was released. The film went on to reach over 93,000 people and won multiple awards. 2018: First Alopecia UK Research Committee Meeting In October 2018, Alopecia UK's Research Committee met for the first time. The Committee is made up of scientists, researchers, pharma representatives, psychologists, clinicians and patient representatives. 2019: New Support Project Manager Kerry Montgomery joined Alopecia UK in June 2019 as our Support Project Manager to help with the management, sustainability and development of the charity's support provision. 2019: Merger between Alopecia UK and Helping Alopecia Trust (HAT) On 1st July 2019, after months of talks, Alopecia UK and Helping Alopecia Trust (HAT) formally merged. HAT worked in Northern Ireland for nearly 10 years, offering help and support to those affected by alopecia. 2019: Two New Members of Staff On 1st October 2019, we welcomed two more to the staff team. Carolyn Johnson joined as our Research Manager and Kelly Young as our Regional Events and Support Coordinator (South). 2019: Alopecia UK Becomes Member of AMRC In December 2019, Alopecia UK became a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC). 2020: Alopecia UK's Second Research Funding Call Our second research funding call invested £21,975 into four research studies; 'Genome-wide meta analysis and comprehensive functional annotation of susceptibility loci in female frontal fibrosing alopecia', 'Microbiota signature of alopecia', 'Do you see me? Impact of media representation on women with alopecia' and 'Molecular exploration of male frontal fibrosing alopecia'. Details of all these studies can be found here. 2020: First 'Hannah Dennis Alopecia Awareness Award' Winner Eight year old Bonnie Pullan became the first recipient of our 'Hannah Dennis Alopecia Awareness Award', an annual alopecia awareness award for young people named in memory of a special friend of Alopecia UK. 2020: Alopecia UK Celebrates 15th Birthday! In September 2020, we celebrated 15 years as a registered charity. To mark the occasion, we organised an awareness and fundraising campaign; our 'Birthday Bonanza'. Thanks to 110 'Birthday Champions' we raised a huge amount of awareness and raised over £50,000 (smashing our original £15,000 target). 2021: New Research and Liaison Manager In February 2021, Julie Clayton joined the staff team as 'Research and Liaison Manager'. 2022: Alopecia UK Publishes Charter for Best Practice for NHS Wig Provision In June 2022, we published our Charter for Best Practice for NHS Wig Provision to try and ensure fair access to wigs for people with alopecia. Find out more here.