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Stories from February, 2014


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Is Setting Up a Direct Debit a Cost-Effective Way of Giving?

Direct debits are another popular way to donate regularly – 61% of Which? members who give to charity on a regular basis do it this way. They are easy to arrange – just give your chosen charity your details and they will set up the monthly donations from your bank account.  For larger charities, you can often set one up yourself online.

Many people donating via direct debit are initially signed up via street and door-to-door fundraisers – ‘chuggers’ as they are sometimes known as.  This method of fundraising can often raise hackles, as some people find it intrusive or question whether it is a good use of charity money.

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA) report that the cost for a charity of recruiting a donor via door-to-door or street fundraising is typically £75-£140.  If you were to donate £5 a month, it might take more than two years for the charity to recoup this – so, on the face of it, it does not look a particularly effective way to give, especially if you switch causes periodically.

The PFRA, however, say that it is an effective way for charities to fundraise.  Its spokesman said that in whatever way a donor responds to an appeal from a charity, there will be a period of time before the amount the donor gives covers the cost of what the charity spent to get the donor to give in the first place. 

But the key message is that, if you want you money to go further, cut out the middleman and set up the direct debit yourself.


[Taken from Which? Magazine, December 2013]


Payroll Giving: a Cost-effective Way to Give

One of the quickest, simplest and most hassle-free ways to give to charity is straight from your salary.  If you are employed and pay income tax via PAYE, this is known as payroll giving.  As donations are taken out of your pre-tax salary, it is a cost effective way to give.  Donating £50 a month via payroll giving will cost you £40 if you are a basic rate taxpayer, and just £30 if you are a higher rate taxpayer. 

To donate via payroll giving, your employer needs to be registered with an approved payroll giving agency.  The three biggest are Give As You Earn, Charities Trust and Charitable Giving.  You can donate to any charity you like and it is the responsibility of the agency to arrange it for you.

The three agencies charge administration feeds of either 25p/month or 4% of your pre-tax donation.  Many employers will cover the cost of the admin fees and some will even match part or all of your donations.  Check what arrangements exist in your company.

Table: Payroll Giving From your Salary

[From Which? Magazine, December 2013]

A UK First: Cryoscopic Diagnosis of IPF

Dr Mikolasch in action

We are delighted to report that, in early February 2014, UCLH diagnosed idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis from a minimally invasive cryoscopic lung biopsy. This is a UK first and was made possible by Breathing Matters. The cryoscopic lung biopsy (CLB) was performed by Dr Theresia Mikolasch (Breathing Matters ‘Lawrence Matz’ Clinical Fellow) under the supervision of Dr Neal Navani at UCLH.  The cryoscope was part-funded by Breathing Matters with monies donated in memory of Ana Timberlake and Dr Mikolasch, who has driven this project forward, was funded by the Lawrence Matz Memorial Fund. 

By working with patients and relatives to address their concerns, Breathing Matters has developed a crucial area of our service to meet patients’ needs. 

This is important for:

1.  The Patient:  who undergoes a day case procedure as opposed to a surgical lung biopsy, thereby avoiding hospital admission, unslightly and painful scar and a chest drain.

2. The histopathologist: who said the quality of the tissue and preservation were excellent and much better than other minimally invasive biopsies due to the freezing during the procedure. 

3. Our ILD research programme: We now have access to lung tissue that is removed, but is excess to that needed for clinical diagnosis. 

Where do we go from here?:

-A multicentre study to investigate the role of early CLB in the patient pathway in idiopathic ILD.

-The resulting increase in tissue samples will be used to expand our complementary basic science programme.




Pulmonary Fibrosis Wish List

  • £5 – Equipment to take blood for testing antibodies for a  patient with IPF
  • £50 – Allows us to grow individual fibroblasts (these are the cells that produce the scarring) in the laboratory from the lungs of patients with IPF to do further studies.
  • £500 – Allows us to isolate the platelets from patients with IPF so that we can examine them in the laboratory and compare them to platelets from people with normal lungs.
  • £5000 – Provides all the equipment and running costs for a ‘Western Bot’ which allows us to look at abnormal proteins in the lungs of patients with pulmonary fibrosis.
  • £50,000 – Pump priming a blue sky research proposal: Allows a senior clinician to undertake a substantial period of research (a year or more) as a named research fellow to develop an hypothesis that is then submitted for full funding (£300K+) from a medical research charity.