Alzheimer’s Research UK is a hugely busy charity. As we seek to up our ambition with our research, we are a hive of activity, with a variety of ambitious projects underway aiming to take us closer to defeating dementia. And you – our incredibly supporters – have been busier than ever raising funds and speaking out to make our work possible. Each year, the publication of our annual review and accounts gives us a moment to pause and take stock of what we’ve all achieved over the last 12 months – and this past year has certainly been a record one for us. Thanks to a 24% increase in our income in 2015/16, we were able to plough £17.9m into our charitable activities, including £14.8m into world-class dementia research: more than ever before.
Our investment in research has seen us take some important steps forward with a key project, our Drug Discovery Alliance. This network of three Drug Discovery Institutes, in Cambridge, Oxford and London, was set up in 2015 to fast-track the search for new dementia treatments. Over the past year, our Institutes have begun to fill with scientists and equipment, and work is underway to translate promising research breakthroughs into potential new medicines for dementia.
The amazing support we’ve received this year has allowed us to award our first grant through our Global Clinical Trials Fund, funding a project that will investigate the effects of aspirin and omega-3 fatty acids in people with diabetes, a group with a higher risk of dementia. We also expanded the Dementia Consortium – a £4.5m partnership which brings together Alzheimer’s Research UK, five pharmaceutical companies and MRC Technology to fund early drug discovery work – bringing in three new partners and funding two promising new research projects. Overall, you helped us award 64 new grants for promising research, from innovative pilot projects exploring new ideas, to major research programmes.
Alongside our research programme, we stepped up our work to improve public understanding about dementia, and continued to put pressure on the Government to make sure dementia research is a priority. Through awareness-raising campaigns such as #sharetheorange, driving home the message that dementia is caused by diseases, and more recently Santa Forgot – a poignant reminder that dementia can affect anyone – you’ve been helping us to spread the message that dementia can and should be fought through research.
It’s no understatement to say that we can only do all of this because of our incredible supporters. This year voluntary donations to the charity topped £20m for the first time, with this support making up the vast majority of our £22m overall income. Each donation makes a real difference to our work, and we’re humbled by this support. So thank you from everyone at Alzheimer’s Research UK and on behalf of all the doctors and scientists whose pioneering work you’re powering.
Our supporters are the people who inspire us in our mission, who drive us to keep pushing forward. We know that many people choose to donate or fundraise for us because they, like so many others, have experienced the devastation that dementia can wreak on people’s lives. So while this increase in support is helping us to take bigger strides forward, we know just how many people are affected by dementia and how much there is still to do. That means it’s all the more vital that we continue working towards a future where no-one has to experience the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.