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Charities badly hit by Covid-19 warns Coeliac UK

The Covid-19 pandemic is drying up health charities’ income streams, Coeliac UK said as it launched an urgent funding appeal.

Coeliac UK says it has had a “massive increase in demand for its services” since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK, with more people seeking advice on how they can manage the life-long condition. 

Although one in 100 people in the UK has coeliac disease, only 30 per cent of those with the condition have been diagnosed. There are an estimated half a million people in the UK who have the condition yet don’t know it, says the charity.

The organisation said: “Like many charities, Coeliac UK is suffering at this unprecedented time. It receives no government funding, and existence depends on membership, fundraising, such as the postponed London Marathon, and commercial income through food safety schemes, advertising and sponsorship, which are all at risk as businesses try and weather the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.”

Hilary Croft, chief executive of Coeliac UK said: “It won’t be a surprise to hear that all of these income streams are under threat due to the coronavirus crisis and at a time we are seeing a surge in demand for our services which are more vital than ever. We are working hard with our network of health and food professionals to collaborate, share knowledge and find the answers to support our community at a time when they need us most.

“On average, it costs £33.40 for each enquiry we receive – of which we have received over 10,000 in a fortnight from our social media community alone. Whilst our Helpline costs £500 a day or £62.50 an hour to run.”

“For over 50 years Coeliac UK has provided information and support to thousands of people diagnosed or suffering with symptoms. We’re now worried about the outlook, and how we can stay around to keep helping people now and in the future. We need support more than ever to sustain our work.”

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