Britain's Most Admired Charities 2015: Most Admired Charity - Winner: Alzheimer's Society

Dementia Friends: a million have been recruited
Dementia Friends: a million have been recruited

About 850,000 people in the UK have dementia, and this number is expected to rise to more than one million by 2025 as the elderly population grows. The Alzheimer's Society therefore finds itself having to support ever-increasing numbers of people with dementia and raise ever-increasing amounts of funding – a challenge it has risen to with great purpose.

Two years ago, the charity launched its Dementia Friends initiative to educate the public about the condition and encourage more people to offer support to those who are affected. In February, it reached its ambitious target of recruiting one million people as Dementia Friends.

The charity has also committed to spending £100m on research into care, prevention and cure over the next decade. It has been able to make such a commitment thanks to a significant increase in funds. Its annual income is expected to reach more than £90m for the first time this year – up from £59m in 2010. The increase is partly due to the society's ability to convince central government and other funders to back it financially, despite the tough funding environment; and partly because of its success in raising money from the public. In the past financial year, more than £35m was raised from donations.

In addition, the charity continues to campaign strongly on behalf of those with dementia and their carers. For example, earlier this year it called on the new government to ensure that everyone diagnosed with dementia has access to specialist advisers and those with the condition receive the same state support as people with cancer. The charity has also been willing to stand up to negative press coverage. After a critical article was run in The Sun newspaper this summer about the amount the society spent on staff costs, the society put up a robust defence, arguing that people depend on the lifeline provided by its dedicated staff and volunteers.


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