With Coeliac UK launching a campaign to help secure their future amid uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought I’d reflect on my experiences with the UK’s leading charity for people with coeliac disease.
With a massive increase in demand for their services, coupled with a loss of income thanks to the current situation, Coeliac UK are calling on the UK’s coeliac community to help them through this difficult time. They receive no government funding, so rely on memberships, donations and commercial income to provide their unrivalled support.
Having been diagnosed with coeliac disease when I was a baby, Coeliac UK has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. I know they were a huge help to my parents when I was first diagnosed, giving them the support they needed to nurture me from a small puking baby into the normal (ish) delight of a human being I turned into.
Receiving the Coeliac UK gluten free food guide each year was an invaluable resource growing up. I fondly remember browsing through the hefty book for hours when I was a kid and picking out products I’d like to try. Everyone needs a hobby right? Bearing in mind this was the pre-internet age it really was the only way of researching gluten free products from home and that alone was worth the membership fee.
As times have moved on Coeliac UK have adapted and now offer two amazing apps to members. One is a food checker, which is basically the food guide reimagined for the 21st century. Instead of trawling through a book you can now just use the app to scan the barcode of any product to check if it’s suitable or not. Genius.
The other app is a gluten free venue guide to help you find places to eat out. This one is particularly valuable if you’re visiting a new place as you can pull up a map and browse locations nearby. I’ve discovered a few new places with this, it’s ace!
Coeliac UK membership also means you get a regular magazine delivered to your door packed full of advice, recipes, travel guides and a whole lot more. I always religiously read through this every time a new issue is released which has been another source of support and entertainment over the years. They also offer a helpline meaning that those with coeliac disease can get in touch to ask just about anything about living with the lifelong condition.
I honestly can’t imagine a world where Coeliac UK aren’t part of my life in some respect. Whether it’s attending events, flicking through the magazine or just knowing they’re there for support and advice at whatever time, I’ve truly had my money’s worth over the years. They’ve been around helping people for over 50 years and I hope that continues for many more to come.
If you’d like to make a donation and find out how your support can help support their future, visit the Coeliac UK website.