Allergy UK Annual Review 2018-2019

The British Allergy Foundation was formed in 1991 by a group of leading UK allergists who believed that those living with allergic disease have the right to good quality support, education, and advice about their condition throughout their lives. The UK health system only provides limited allergy services and the British Allergy Foundation, operating as Allergy UK since 2001, is the charitable organisation established to fill the gap and provide this support. It also lobbies and advocates for improved recognition of the seriousness of allergy and its impact on the quality of life of those living with allergic disease.

Allergy UK’s mission is to ‘raise the profile of allergy at all levels and to ensure that everyone affected by allergy receives the best possible care and support by increasing awareness, knowledge, and understanding of allergic disease’. Working closely with healthcare professionals and other partners in the field of allergy and immunology in the UK, Europe, and across the globe, as well as patients and their families, it aims to drive forward advances in diagnosis, prevention, treatment and management of the full range of allergic disease (e.g. food, respiratory, skin, venom, drug and occupational allergies) and encompasses all degrees of severity from mild and moderate to acute reactions, including anaphylaxis.

Message from the Chair and Chief Executive

For many years our calls to raise awareness of the severity of allergy and to make real changes to the quality of life for everyone living with allergy, has often appeared to have fallen on deaf ears. Allergy is finally beginning to be considered with the seriousness and gravity that it should, but it is incredibly saddening that it has taken a number of high profile deaths to drive this change.

We should not have to wait for people to die from their severe allergies to change laws to make people safer. We should not need to see more grieving families in news articles for people to finally take allergy seriously and for them to understand that it is, for far too many, a lifethreatening condition. But sadly, it has taken all of this to bring the seriousness and severity of allergy into the spotlight and get people to take notice and listen.

These high profile cases are devastating to those close to them and profoundly sad to those of us at a further distance. However, it has spurred us to redouble our efforts to further raise the profile of allergies at all levels, to ensure that people affected by allergy receive the best possible care and support and are taken seriously. We extend our thanks to all of those who continue to work with us in this mission for their generous support and donations, which ensure that those whose lives are affected by allergy have access to advice and information and are supported by advocacy through our charity.

We would like to see a world where people with allergies are not losing their lives to reactions, where they are not made to feel humiliated for wanting to eat in a restaurant safely, where they are able to go on holiday without fear they will be refused a flight home because of misunderstanding about their allergy, where they can confidently, and safely, eat a meal without worrying it was labelled wrongly, where the air they breathe is not impacting upon their allergies and where young children with allergies are not teased or bullied or made to feel different.

We have seen great strides this year with our involvement in government round table discussions considering the needs of people with allergies on flights, changes to labelling announced to make eating out safer and we have been approached by restaurants, airlines and other businesses that want us to help them make things safer for people with allergy. We are also involved in discussions on the impact of air quality to make sure people with allergy are considered and we have seen a huge response from schools engaging with our Schools Allergy Action Group project, which we launched this year to help schools towards a better understanding of their allergic pupils’ needs.

We still have a long way to go before our mission and vision are achieved and as we develop our next five year strategy over the next 12 months, we will continue to focus on ways to empower people with all allergies and help give them a voice, being here to give them the support and advice they need to manage their condition in the best possible way.

We hope that you and others will continue to support us in this, as, with your generous donations and contributions, together we can improve the lives of all living with allergic disease.