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Kidney disease ends here.

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Covid-19 statement update

21 August 2020

The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has presented us with huge challenges. We’ve updated our statement, and we will continue to do so as the situation changes.

Hear from Sandra Currie, our chief executive, to find out more about the impact coronavirus is having and what we are doing to ensure we keep research going.

Difficult decisions have got us through

The good news – we are through the immediate crisis that faced us when the pandemic hit.

In the last six months we have paused our future research plans and stopped new awards, including those being considered in March and in June. We have reviewed and reduced all of our expenditure. For most staff this has meant a period of furlough, or reduced hours and, for many, a voluntary reduction in salary. The staff team have responded brilliantly, taking on additional work to cover for furloughed colleagues. A common phrase I am hearing from the team is: “I will do whatever is needed, whatever is best for the charity.”

I want to thank everyone in the team, all staff, all trustees and volunteers, whose commitment has seen us through the first six months. For all of us the hardest thing is knowing that the research is not making its usual progress day by day, and that people living with kidney disease are not going to get the answers as soon as we all hoped.

It was a massive disappointment to know we can’t fund any additional research projects this year. Thankfully in March we had just awarded £825k of grants in conjunction with the Stoneygate Trust, and we were able to honour our commitment to paediatric research making the Kids Kidney grants totalling £600k in April. But with no new further awards planned this year we are all very uncomfortable.

The reality is clear. We are only stable now at this stage of the crisis because we made tough decisions to reduce costs and halt all new spend on research until our financial situation has improved.

Raising money to offer hope

We remain in a difficult situation. As we start to rebuild the charity, we are looking for the longer term solutions.

We must raise more money to invest in more research to offer hope to more people affected by kidney disease. But in these challenging economic times, raising money is not easy.

And we must ensure we can honour our existing commitments. Researchers who currently hold grants from us are gradually getting back to their work, and will be taking up their annual grants from us for the remainder of their projects. Over the next three years that will cost us more than £14 million.

Of course, on top of those research bills that need to be paid, we have the ongoing costs of maintaining our active development and campaign work to put our research knowledge into practice. This provides support across so many areas of the kidney community and keeps the patient voice loud and clear.

We rely on your support

Our supporters have been outstanding, finding new ways to raise funds and make more people aware of why kidney disease matters. This has been so vital for us to keep up our work and get us through this difficult time. But some normally dependable areas of income have stopped. Retail, events income and some individual gifts have dropped to a level that we have not seen for years. For those who have been able to stay with us, we value your support more than ever.

We are seeking support to get us through this next phase and help us to rebuild the charity. We rely on the generous donations from so many of our supporters and partners to get research started again. We want to find more people like you, who we know we can really count on when the going gets tough.

Please get in touch, we love hearing from you. Keep telling us why kidney research matters to you – it means so much to us to have your encouragement to keep going. Sharing your stories helps others understand why research matters and inspires them to get involved too.

I am confident that with your help, the charity will emerge stronger and even more focused on delivering research that will put a stop to the devastation of kidney disease. There are some signs of new opportunities, and I have had some great conversations in recent weeks that may bring some fresh hope. We also continue to see a humbling generosity from those who often silently give a small regular gift. Knowing this support is there gives us the courage to continue to face the challenges ahead.

Sandra Currie, chief executive

Our research is only possible with your support.

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