Dementia scientist visits supermarket to help launch Alzheimer’s charity partnership

Iceland staff with Dr Claire Durrant outside the store in St Neots

Iceland staff with Dr Claire Durrant outside the store in St Neots - Credit: Archant

A dementia scientist has visited the Iceland store, in St Neots, to launch a one-million-pound charity partnership.

Staff marked the launch of the retailer’s new charity partnership with Alzheimer’s Research UK, with a visit from a Cambridge-based dementia researcher.

Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation has made a commitment to donate £1 million to Alzheimer’s Research UK to help fund life-changing dementia research. The two organisations will work together on a ground breaking partnership that will fund research to help in the search for a cure for dementia, while also raising much-needed awareness of the cause.

Dr Claire Durrant dropped by the St Neots store, along with some other representatives from Alzheimer’s Research UK, to meet with staff. Alzheimer’s Research UK-funded researcher, Dr Durrant, is based at the University of Cambridge. Her work involves studying the connections between brain nerve cells, with the ultimate hope of finding new treatments to slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Shoppers will be able to get involved with the partnership later this year, when stores take part in a fun-filled charity fundraising week from June 8. Staff and customers will be able to show their support for Cambridge-based charity Alzheimer’s Research UK through a variety of in-store activities.

Ron Sheppard, store manager, said: “It was great to meet Dr Durrant and the other representatives from Alzheimer’s Research UK. We’re so excited about the partnership this year and can’t wait for our charity week in June. We’re always so impressed by the support we receive from our customers during that time and we’re sure it’s going to be no different in June for this brilliant cause.”

This will be the second time Alzheimer’s Research UK has partnered with Iceland Foods, after the retailer supported the charity’s pioneering research programmes between 2011 and 2013. Since 2010, Iceland Foods has raised a total of £15 million for dementia charities.

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There are almost one million people living with dementia in the UK – with more than 8,000 in Cambridgeshire – yet there are currently no ways to slow, stop or prevent the diseases, like Alzheimer’s, that cause it. Alzheimer’s Research UK’s vision is a world free from the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia and the charity is doing this by funding world-class research to better understand, diagnose, treat and reduce the risk of dementia.

Sir Malcolm Walker, founder and executive chairman of Iceland Foods, said: “Dementia has a devastating impact on our society and many of us will be personally affected by this incredibly cruel condition. Today we have to deal with dementia knowing there is no cure and that must change. We desperately need more effective treatments to drastically improve the lives of people living with dementia and that’s why I’m so thrilled that we are supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK this year. Iceland Foods’ £1m commitment to the UK’s leading dementia research charity will hopefully lead us closer to the crucial scientific breakthroughs that will result in more treatments and ultimately a cure.

“I’m so proud of what Iceland Foods has already done to support dementia charities and I’m excited to be able to build on that by again supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK this year. With the backing of our colleagues and customers, we have the potential to make a huge difference.”

Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to be partnered with Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation once again. There are very few, if any, organisations that have shown as much passion and commitment to bringing an end to the heartbreak of dementia, as this one.

“With dementia now the leading cause of death in the UK, we must do everything we can to bring about life-changing treatments faster and partnering with forward-thinking companies such as Iceland Foods will help make these breakthroughs possible. We’re so excited for the year ahead, as this partnership will give us a fantastic platform to reach so many people, including staff, suppliers and customers, and engage with them about our vital cause.”