National charity Coeliac UK has launched an appeal to raise funds to enable it to continue its support of those with coeliac disease during the coronavirus crisis.
The charity has had a massive increase in demand for its services. The charity is working with its networks of experts to guide its community with accurate advice and research-based information and support.
The charity has an extensive network within the food industry and lobbies government for better provision of gluten-free food for those who need it most.
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease where the body's immune system damages the lining of the small bowel when gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye is eaten; the only treatment is a strict gluten-free diet for life. One in 100 people in the UK has coeliac disease, but only 30% of those with the condition have been diagnosed.
Coeliac UK receives no government funding and depends on membership, fundraising, such as the postponed London marathon, and commercial income through food safety schemes, advertising and sponsorship.
Hilary Croft, chief executive of Coeliac UK said: "All of these income streams are under threat due to the coronavirus crisis and at a time when 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. 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."
To donate go to: https://www.coeliac.org.uk/save-our-future/