COVID-19: the impact for dementia research and our work

Ian Wilson

As we all adapt to a temporary, extraordinary new way of living, we wanted to update you on how we’re adapting at Alzheimer’s Research UK, and the potential impact of COVID-19 on dementia research.

The coming weeks and months will not be easy. It won’t surprise you that the current situation is affecting our ability to carry out some of our work as normal. We have made use of the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help protect the charity’s finances, but at the moment, we predict our income may drop by as much as 45% as a result of COVID-19. That, in turn, will mean sadly less money to fund pioneering research.

Current and future projects

We’ve had to take the difficult decision to pause our summer grant funding round, and we won’t be making further funding commitments until we are clearer on the full impact of COVID-19 on Alzheimer’s Research UK.

For projects already underway, our resourceful researchers are undertaking research in innovative ways wherever they are able. We’re also hugely supportive of the dementia researchers across the country who are aiding in the national COVID-19 response – from clinicians supporting NHS colleagues, to labs repurposing testing equipment and scientists helping to model the spread of the virus.

Some of our planned projects – including some fundraising events, awareness campaigns and aspects of our policy work – have paused, as we recognise that now is not the right time for them. But, with your help, we’re committed to redoubling our efforts once we’re able to come back together.

Adapting at home

In the meantime, much work does continue, with activities being adapted while we’re at home. And we’ve been inspired by the way so many of you are doing the same:

  • Our virtual running and cycling challenges have seen nearly 1,500 people sign up to keep active and help us make breakthroughs possible. It’s not too late to take part.
  • Our popular Mighty Quiz is going virtual on Thursday 14 May with help from celebrity supporter Stephen Fry and Jay Flynn’s Virtual Pub Quiz. You can register here to join in.
  • Many of you have found creative ways to fundraise from home, from virtual events to dress up days.
  • Our Dementia Explained website for young people is helping parents who are faced with the new challenge of home-schooling.
  • Scientists are busy adapting to home-working and sharing knowledge virtually, to ensure that progress continues to be made towards life-changing breakthroughs.

COVID-19 is affecting us all, but we know that families affected by dementia are feeling the impact acutely. We’ve added new information to our website about managing at this difficult time, and our Dementia Research Infoline team are still able to answer your questions. You can contact them on infoline@alzheimersresearchuk.org or 0300 111 5 111.

Now more than ever, dementia research needs your backing and critical progress is at stake. It means so much to us to know that you’re still standing with us to make breakthroughs possible – from all of us at Alzheimer’s Research UK, thank you for your continued support.

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