This year we are delighted that Access Group has nominated us as their UK Charity of the Year. Each year Access Group ask colleagues to nominate a charity that they would like to support and for the past few years staff have voted for charities with a close personal connection. This year Jo, who works at Access, and her daughter Hannah shared their story about living with bipolar and how Bipolar UK had been instrumental in providing vital support to them.

The Access Group have, on average, raised over £200,000 for charitable causes for the past three years and are aiming to make another big contribution to Bipolar UK this year. Access Group staff will be running many miles, organising creative events and raising money through their salary “round to the pound” scheme. 32 staff have joined a Global Exercise Challenge, virtually traversing over 26,000 miles between Access global offices. All money raised will be generously match-funded by Access Group.

Simon Kitchen, Bipolar UK’s CEO expressed his thanks for this wonderful opportunity to work with Access Group. “Bipolar can be a devastating condition but with the right treatment and support we know that people can live well. Additional funds raised by Access Group will enable us to ensure thousands more get the support that they need to live well with bipolar.”

The money raised will help us meet the increase in demand for our services since the pandemic.  We will be increasing provision of our call-back and email service, re-opening in-person peer support groups across the country and supporting more people affected by bipolar through our e-community, website and newsletter. We currently support around 100,000 people a year, but with an estimated 1 million-plus people living with bipolar in the UK we know we can do so much more.

Funds raised will also support the exciting work of the Bipolar Commission which aims to dramatically reduce the number of lives lost to people living with bipolar each year. Launched in March 2021, the commission is a widespread engagement exercise with our lived-experience community to identify challenges to the healthcare system and ways to improve self-management, and to reduce suicidal thinking. Initial key statistics will be ready for a Parliamentary reception in October. The full report will be launched at the next annual Bipolar UK conference in March 2022.

Good luck to all at Access Group with your fundraising activities. We look forward to working with you over the coming year and together getting closer to realising our mission “to empower everyone affected by bipolar to live well and fulfil their potential”.