One Year On

One Year On

Richard Nugee reflects on a year of progress as The Scar Free Foundation's Chief Executive.

It has been over a year since I was appointed Chief Executive of this small-but-mighty charity. It’s been 12 months of pivotal changes and remarkable achievements by the team, setting a solid foundation for the future and underscoring the importance of our work.

Research

As a medical research charity, our priority has always been on funding research that will make scar free healing a reality and transform the lives of those living with scars.

For the first time since the Pandemic, we have secured new research funding. Thanks to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, we will be able to support a critical project on genital and intimate scarring in Veterans. This is a momentous achievement, which reflects the hard work of the team and the trust placed in us to drive meaningful research.

In March this year, we launched the Amber Young Burns Research Fellowship to kick-start new projects in paediatric burns research. This fellowship is only possible because of the generous gift from the estate of Professor Amber Young, an inspirational and much-missed researcher and clinician who passed away in 2022. We are honoured to carry out her wishes and foster the next generation of burns researchers.


New and Old Partnerships

Our long collaboration with BAPRAS, BAAPS, BSSH, CFSGBI, BBA, and BPS – our founding members - has always been one of SFF’s greatest strengths. This year, we prioritised revitalising our relationships with these organisations. We’ve had many insightful meetings and workshops to discuss how we can make the most of our shared resources, expertise, and networks. Highlighting our renewed relationship, we formally changed their name from Principal Member Organisations to Partner Member Organisations.

We also welcomed many new partnerships. In October, we became an Associate Member of COBSEO, the Confederation of Service Charities, and signed the Armed Forces Covenant. These affiliations enshrine our commitment to the Veteran community, and open doors for us to collaborate with new research partners.

The Scar Free Foundation Symposium

A major highlight of my time so far at the Foundation has been the inception of The Scar Free Foundation Symposium. This two-day event in October will together leading scar scientists from around the world, fostering an exchange of ideas and paving the way for ground-breaking research. We hope this symposium will become a biannual fixture, continually enhancing global understanding and treatment of scarring.


Making the Most of your Donations

A large portion of my work in the past year has financial stewardship. In the last year, we’ve adopted more cost-effective practices and saved a substantial proportion of our budget. This means we can do more with every donation we receive, honouring our donors' generosity and making a greater impact with their contributions.

Part of this effort to maximise our funds involved the hiring of three new staff members. In the last year, we have stopped relying on external consultants for communications and fundraising. Jenni Herd and Dr Lubna Arif-Schmidt joined the team, and their superb expertise has made a noticeable different to our productivity and morale. In July, we will also welcome a new Senior Trusts Fundraiser – expanding our team from three to six members in less than a year.

Of course, that’s not the only personnel change that has happened during my time as Chief Executive. In February, Amanda McKechnie left her post as Head of Finance and Operations to become a mum. Amanda will be returning from maternity leave next year. In the meantime, her role is filled by Catherine Attwood, an excellent addition to our small team.

Revamping Our Online Presence

Our charity has an impressive history of ground-breaking research into scar free healing – but our online presence does not reflect our credentials.

We are in the process of completely overhauling our website to make it easier for supporters to donate and access information. A user-friendly website is crucial for engagement and support, and we are excited about the improvements to come.

We have also written a Wikipedia page, giving us more credibility online and giving those interested an overview of our history and achievements. And you might have heard our ad on the radio!

Looking Ahead

Completed


We have made incredible progress this year – it is not a coincidence that the mug I painted at our Christmas party features a phoenix rising (and an iconic zebra fish on the other side!)

But we know that our work is far from finished. There are many more scientists to support and discoveries to be made. The progress we have made this year is just the beginning, and with the continued support of our partners, donors, and dedicated team, we are poised to achieve even greater things.

With huge thanks to our supporters for being part of our journey and a keen enthusiasm to meet more people, do more incredible research, and get just that bit closer to our goal of scar free healing within a generation. Together, we can make a world without scars a reality.

Richard Nugee

Chief Executive