Alopecia UK is a charity working to improve the lives of those affected by alopecia through aims of Support, Awareness and Research. Founded in 2004, we work to help men, women and children affected by alopecia. This includes those with the condition as well as family and friends. We are a small charity working nationally across the UK. Despite being small, we are the largest alopecia charity in the UK and have big ambitions to develop, grow and do much more.
What is Alopecia?
Alopecia simply means hair loss. There are many types of alopecia and the charity supports the whole community, with all types of alopecia, because the psychological impact can be the same regardless of cause or type. The majority of people who contact Alopecia UK have Alopecia Areata which is understood to be an autoimmune condition. Alopecia Areata typically appears as patches on the scalp and/or beard. It sometimes progresses to Alopecia Totalis (total hair loss on the scalp) or Alopecia Universalis (total loss of hair from scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes and body). This dramatic change in appearance, while not life threatening, is certainly life changing. Altered feelings around identity and sense of self can impact on confidence and self-esteem resulting in psychological challenges being presented in many everyday life situations.
Support – we facilitate peer support through our UK-wide support group network, online peer support platforms, national events, and one to one support given to individuals via phone and emails. We also maintain a website full of information, advice and support.
Awareness – we educate the general public about alopecia through social media as well as supporting various TV, radio, newspaper and magazine (both print and digital) media articles. Some of the events we organise are also aimed at increasing public awareness of alopecia. We also increase awareness of the psychological impact of alopecia amongst medical professionals, including GPs and dermatologists, with a view to improving the patient experience.
Research – we support various research projects by helping to recruit participants for them. We have also funded some small adhoc research projects and 2018 was the first year we set up a Research Committee and also rolled out our Research Pots Grant Scheme, offering up to £10,000 for alopecia research projects.
Working for Alopecia UK
Following 10 years of being entirely volunteer-led, Alopecia UK moved towards having paid staff resource in 2014, eventually culminating in the Charity’s first full-time employees in 2016. The Charity opened its first office in the same year. A third staff member joined the team in 2018. In 2019 we will be recruiting a Support Project Manager, Regional Events and Support Co-ordinator for the South and a Research Manager. This will take our paid staff team up to six. While we have a small paid staff team, we have a large overall team as we utilise a lot of volunteer help in order for the Charity to provide the range of services that it does. Our Core Team (paid staff) is crucial in the running of the Charity and being part of such a small team means that everyone needs to pitch in and every contribution is valued. We pride ourselves on having a very friendly, dynamic and productive team. Benefits for staff include ongoing development and training, as well as flexible working hours.