Official confirmation was received from the Charity Commission for England and Wales that Alopecia UK was registered as a charity on 14th September 2005. Our Chief Executive gives his response below.
‘I would like to thank everyone who has supported us and to take this opportunity to give everyone some background information about Alopecia UK and some information about our future plans.
We first came up with the idea of Alopecia Online late in 2003 and the site was launched in early 2004. The original idea for the site was to provide a reliable source of information for anyone with an interest in alopecia. Our particular aim was to give positive but realistic support and practical advice to cope with alopecia.
The site has grown from a couple of hundred visitors a month in March 2004 to over 500 visitors a day in September 2005. We have been so pleased by the response to the site and to the community that has grown around it and we would like to thank everyone who has used the site.
After such a positive response to Alopecia Online we decided at the start of 2005 to form a UK-wide charity with the aims of:
- supporting people with alopecia and their families
- raising awareness of alopecia among the general public
- conducting research into alopecia.
The new charity, Alopecia UK, was started in April 2005 and we were registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales on 14th September 2005. The ownership of Alopecia Online was taken over by Alopecia UK and the website is now known as Alopecia UK Online.
We have been working hard this year to get all of the necessary pre-requisites to make Alopecia UK a charity that fully serves the alopecia community in the UK and hope that successful registration will enable us to increase the rate of development.
Alopecia UK should be about far more than just Alopecia UK Online. For example, we are aware that not everyone has access to the internet so we would like Alopecia UK to provide support and assistance to these people through printed material and a helpline with properly trained advisors. This material will be made available to dermatology departments so that when someone is diagnosed with alopecia they are given useful and supportive information to read in their own time. We also want everyone to have access to a local support group and we are trying to set up a training course to help anyone wanting to set up a group in their local area. These are just a few of our ideas - we will continue to keep everyone updated as new plans develop. We are also always willing to listen to what you think would be useful services for Alopecia UK to provide.
Our philosophy is that the services of Alopecia UK should be free at the point of use for everyone in the UK. To ensure that we provide the sort of service you would expect we will need to start actively fundraising.
Following the enthusiasm on the forum and the recent registration it seems a good time to start thinking about fundraising. Dave Utley is running a Wig-a-Thon this November, we will make an online sponsor form available for all of you who would like to support him.
On a longer term note we will be putting a Direct Debit form on the website for anyone who would like to make a regular contribution to Alopecia UK and a link for anyone wanting to make a one-off online donation. In addition we need to start arranging fundraising events. For this to happen we need two things:
- ideas about what sort of events you would like to see and
- volunteers to organise the events.
Alopecia UK is what it is today because of your help, support and enthusiasm and can only develop further with your continued involvement. If you would like to volunteer to help in any way then please email firstname.lastname@example.org