The UCL Dementia Retail Partnership
14 December 2016
Inspired by Malcolm Walker of Iceland Foods the UCL Dementia Retail Partnership has raised a staggering £10million in its first year for UCL Dementia Research - equivalent to the sale of around 200 million carrier bags.
In May 2015, Iceland Founder and CEO, Malcolm Walker, called upon the support of fellow retailers to help raise the funds needed to create a new UCL Dementia Research Institute – which will have everything it needs to fight one of the biggest medical challenges of the 21st century. Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose threw their weight behind the campaign alongside Iceland from the outset, pledging to support UCL dementia research with money raised from the 5p carrier bag levy, and through staff and customer fundraising. Other contributing partners include HSS Hire, Booths, Farmfoods, Poundland, and WHSmith.
Dementia is the greatest scientific, medical and socio-economic challenge of our times and affects more than 47 million people worldwide. With the global cost of dementia estimated at more than £500 billion, the disease currently costs the UK economy more than cancer and heart disease combined. However, nearly seven times as much is spent on cancer research than is spent on dementia research.
Professor Nick Fox of UCL said: “Dementia already devastates the lives of far too many families across Britain – we urgently need to find more effective ways to prevent, delay or treat the diseases that cause it. There are real prospects for progress if we bring together the most able scientists and clinicians and support them in their research. This remarkable support from leading retailers could make a real difference to accelerating that research.”
In an unprecedented move, Iceland have also appointed UCL Dementia Research as their charity partner for 2016, the first time a university had been given such an honor. Staff took part in fundraising during Iceland’s annual charity week in August, and organised two major events a Charity Golf Day and a Dementia Challenge Ball. Funds raised from all these initiatives are part of Iceland’s commitment to raising a total of £10 million for this outstanding cause.
Malcolm Walker, Founder and CEO of Iceland said: “I am delighted that we have been able to raise the profile of dementia – and the importance of dementia research – by putting aside our competitive instincts and creating this unique partnership with other retailers to support UCL. The cutting edge research that happens at UCL is vital in tackling one of the most devastating diseases affecting the world today.”
The fight against dementia continues and is strengthened by the announcement this week that the Medical Research Council, has selected UCL as the central hub of the new national UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI). The UK DRI is a joint £250m investment into dementia research led by the MRC alongside founding charity partners Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK. UCL Dementia Research will be fully integrated into the new national Institute, which will be catalytic in the UK’s research efforts to diagnose, treat, care for and prevent dementia.