ALOPECIA UK COLLAB
Way back before lockdown (remember those days?) Alopecia UK Operations Manager, Amy contacted the team about brewing a beer together to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the Charity.
The Head Office for Alopecia UK is based just down the road from us in Shipley and Amy is a regular at SALT Bar & Kitchen. Naturally we were keen to get involved!
We put some questions to Amy about Alopecia UK, the amazing work they do and, of course…beer!
- Tell us about the work Alopecia UK does and how you became involved with the charity.
“Alopecia UK is a small national charity working to improve the lives of those affected by alopecia through aims of Support, Awareness and Research. One of our main focuses is on peer support. We recognise how valuable it can be to be in touch with others who have experienced hair loss, to both get emotional support and pick up practical tips.
I lost my hair 10 years ago following a diagnosis of Alopecia Areata. I started volunteering for Alopecia UK in 2012, after attending an event organised by the charity. I got such a confidence boost from meeting others who had undergone the same and felt a great sense of relief from knowing I wasn’t on my own.
I wanted to help others feel the same way and that’s where my journey with Alopecia UK began.”
- Who is mainly affected by Alopecia?
“‘Alopecia’ simply means hair loss and there are different types. Alopecia UK is mainly contacted by people with the same type as me – Alopecia Areata. This is an autoimmune condition and affects people of ALL ages and backgrounds. It’s thought to affect males and females equally. Alopecia Areata is understood to affect 1 or 2 in every 1000 people .”
- How has the charity been affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic / lockdowns?
“Like many other charities, we’ve found our regular fundraising income cease. All the usual fundraising activities – such as marathons, 10ks, school and office fundraising events, skydives etc – all ceased.
We rely on the efforts of fundraisers to continue our work. We have been lucky that many in our community supported us with the national 2.6 challenge back in April. Then in September, we have over 100 ‘Birthday Champions’ raise awareness and funds for our 15th birthday.
As well as the impact to fundraising, we have not held our usual face to face group meetings or our events. We were due to host our first kids camp which has been postponed until next year. Our annual Alton Towers event, which normally brings together hundreds of people for a day of awareness, support and fun, had to be cancelled.”
- With lockdown 2 now in full swing, what support is there for people who may be struggling with Alopecia at this time?
“We operate a number of private Facebook groups, which act as mini-forums.
Our main group has over 8,000 members with many daily posts. These Facebook groups are a great source of peer support and have become a valuable lifeline to many people in the UK affected by alopecia.
In addition to our Facebook groups, we are also able to offer individual support to anyone who needs it via email or phone. We are currently in the process of expanding our digital support provision too.”
- Speaking from personal experience, what would you say to someone who was beginning their Alopecia “journey” right now?
“The first thing I would say is that whatever you’re feeling, it’s ok to be feeling that way. All feelings are valid. #
I know in the early days of my hair loss, I felt very guilty for feeling upset about ‘just my hair’. I wish I’d given myself an easier time as, looking back, it was an enormous thing that I was coming to terms with. For me, it was more than losing my hair. I felt like I’d lost my identity – with my hair gone from my head and my eyebrows and eyelashes vanished, I no longer recognised the face staring back at me in the mirror.
I would also remind someone that they’re not alone and if they are struggling to manage their emotions, to make sure they talk to someone – family, friends, GP, Alopecia UK. And finally I’d tell someone that feelings can change over time. In those early days, I was absolutely devastated. I felt lost, sad and angry. I never envisaged a day when I would be comfortable with my alopecia. It’s a cliché but time is a great healer.”
- Why collaborate with a brewery to celebrate your 15th Birthday?
“Well, I’m partial to the occasional(!) pint of beer and I love the idea of Alopecia UK collaborating with businesses who can bring the charity’s name to a wider audience. SALT Beer Factory is a 2 minute walk from my front door and in the locality of Alopecia UK’s office too so SALT seemed a natural choice to approach for a collaboration.
Alopecia UK may have been going 15 years but we’re still not a household name. There are still people diagnosed with alopecia who do not find us immediately.
I hope that someone might see our name on the can and perhaps find the charity for the first time. And of course, it will be lovely to bring in some much needed additional funding at a time when fundraising options remain limited.”
- What is your go-to lockdown beer?
“My housemate has been ordering beers from breweries and bottleshops across the UK during the lockdown. I’ve been sampling quite a few and one that I’ve absolutely LOVED is 3 Bean Stout by Lervig. It’s an imperial stout made with tonka, vanilla and cocoa and it’s absolutely delicious!”
If you would like any further information about Alopecia UK and the work they do please go to: https://www.alopecia.org.uk/
The beer is due for release wc 23/11/20 and a percentage of all sales will be donated to Alopecia UK. Keep your eyes on our feed for details!