The VTCT Foundation has announced a donation of £1 million to the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol).
This commitment will enable CAR to expand the support it provides to charities working directly with people and their families who are living with visible difference.
More than one million people are affected by some form of visible difference (disfigurement) in the UK. Whether the difference is acquired, for example in a road traffic accident or burn injury, or the result of a condition at birth such as cleft lip and palate, or the consequence of skin conditions or cancer treatment, the impact on a person's life can be devastating.
The major benefit of this donation is that it will help charities to maximise the impact of the information and support they provide. Through an evaluation of existing methods of support and intervention and a programme of new research, charities will be able to provide effective services to many more people and their families.
The many charities working to support people affected by the wide range of conditions resulting in an unusual appearance have recently joined together in a network called The Appearance Collective. CAR, while working with all charities, will focus its support on the Appearance Collective's charity members, working with them to prioritise research now and in the future.
Rosanna Preston, Chair of The VTCT Foundation, which has been a loyal supporter of CAR, said:
“We understand just how important it is for people living with visible difference to get effective help and support whenever they need it. Charities find themselves providing that vital front line support and information. In partnership with CAR we are confident we will have the biggest impact possible on the quality of life of people affected by visible difference and, through the Appearance Collective charities, reach many more people than ever before.”
Professor Nichola Rumsey, Co-Director and Founder of CAR, said:
“Looking unusual as the result of a disfiguring condition such as a birth anomaly, skin disease, in the aftermath of trauma or following surgery, is a cause of considerable distress for millions of people worldwide. We’re incredibly excited by this major donation, which will support a ground-breaking partnership in the UK over the next five years.”
Professor Diana Harcourt, Co-Director of CAR, added:
“By supporting world-class researchers to focus their efforts on promoting the effectiveness and voice of charities, the VTCT Foundation’s donation will significantly boost initiatives designed to improve the lives of people challenged by visible difference. The potential impact of the work that CAR members will be able to conduct as a result of this donation is very considerable."