How does IMPACT keep its running costs so low?

IMPACT is determined to spend as much of our income as possible on our projects and we go to great lengths to keep our running costs to the bare minimum. For example, we do not have large offices and employ few members of staff in the UK. Until 1994, IMPACT was run from the Chief Executive’s spare bedroom then we were able to move to the current office thanks to a generous gift from a charitable trust. Neither do we spend money on expensive advertising or glossy brochures. Our work also benefits from the skills and talents of a growing number of volunteers.During 2009/10, we spent just 9 pence in every £1 donated on fundraising and administration.

When was IMPACT formed and why?

IMPACT was formed during the 1980s which was the United Nations’ International Decade of Disabled Persons. IMPACT UK was registered in 1985 so we have been preventing and treating needless disability for over 20 years.IMPACT was established because a group of health experts believed that it was time for concerted action to prevent the disabling conditions that abuse so many lives rather than simply treating conditions when they have developed. This is not only more cost-effective but it is clearly better that people do not become disabled and have to undergo surgery in the first place.

Where does IMPACT’s funding come from?

IMPACT UK is entirely dependent on the generosity of our supporters; apart from some grants for our Tasty Team project in the UK, every penny is raised from individual supporters, community service organisations, schools, churches, companies and charitable trusts.

Does IMPACT UK have offices overseas?

No. IMPACT UK is just one of a family of 16 IMPACT Foundations around the world, many of which we helped to establish. Each IMPACT Foundation is autonomous and run by local people. We feel this is the best way to achieve sustainability and no one knows better than local people what help their communities really need. This policy also ensures that language barriers can be easily overcome and cultural differences are respected.We also work with many partner organisations that are not IMPACT Foundations. Again, these are run entirely by local people.

We have stringent monitoring procedures however, and make sure that every penny sent to fund a project overseas is accounted for.

I’ve never heard of IMPACT before – how do you publicise your work?

You will not read IMPACT’s story in expensive advertising because we have made a policy decision to invest money in our projects and let them speak for themselves. We also rely on ‘word of mouth’ so please let others know about IMPACT and our work.Sometimes we are given free publicity, for example, when the BBC ‘QED’ series made a programme about the Lifeline Express hospital train in India.

Does IMPACT also work to prevent disability in the UK?

Yes. IMPACT ran the award-winning Operation Cataract scheme and its partner Operation Mobility between 1987 and 2002. These schemes provided a supportive package of care for elderly people undergoing cataract or orthopaedic operations within the NHS, allowing them to get treatment more quickly. Gradually hospital practices changed and these schemes were no longer necessary, however.We then turned our attention to the problem of disability and ill-health caused by unhealthy diets. This is a growing problem in the UK, costing the NHS up to £6 billion each year – a figure that looks likely to increase in the future.

Our ‘Neighbourhood Healthwatch’ scheme is being piloted in Mid-Sussex but we hope to be able to roll it out elsewhere. It combines ‘Get Cooking’ clubs to teach people basic cooking skills and nutrition on a low budget, home gardening so they can grow their own fruit and vegetables, and a food co-operative to take fresh produce into the heart of communities – especially important in areas where there are only out of town supermarkets.

We are indebted to a large number of volunteers for giving their time and skills so generously to make this project a success. If you would like to get involved, please call Lucinda Meagher on 01444 457080.

Do you need donations of drugs, equipment, spectacles etc.?

Usually it is more cost-effective to purchase items locally since this avoids expensive import duties and delivery charges. Suitable drugs and equipment from British manufacturers are welcomed however, but we must ensure that drugs are well within their ‘sell by’ date and that equipment is modern and in good working order.

How can I help?

There are many ways in which you can help IMPACT. You could make a donation or arrange a fundraising event. You might like to lend your time as a volunteer. Alternatively you could simply spread the word about IMPACT and our work.