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Supermarkets to donate 5p bag charge to UCL dementia centre

Waitrose, Iceland and Morrisons have pledged to give cash raised by the 5p plastic bag levy to the Dementia Research Institute at UCL.

The £350 million project currently has a shortfall in funding of £100 million, and the cash expected to be generated by carrier bag sales from Britain’s food retailers has the potential to bridge much of that gap.

The Dementia Research Centre will bring together researchers from across UCL and UCLH to lead national and international efforts to find effective treatments and improve the lives of those with dementia.

Professor Alan Thompson, Dean of the UCL Faculty of Brain Sciences, said: “Dementia is the greatest scientific, medical and socio-economic challenge of our times and affects more than 35 million people worldwide. UCL, through its translational neuroscience at Queen Square, can bring the breadth and depth of expertise required to deliver therapeutic advances to this devastating condition. Philanthropy has made a huge difference in tackling global diseases such as cancer and malaria and this unprecedented initiative sees UK retailers acting collaboratively to tackle the tragedy that is dementia and neurodegenerative diseases.”

Professor Nick Fox, Director of the UCL Dementia Research Centre, said: “Dementia already devastates the lives of far too many families across Britain – we urgently need to find more effective ways to prevent, delay or treat the diseases that cause it. There are real prospects for progress if we bring together the most able scientists and clinicians and support them in their research. This remarkable initiative by some of the UK’s leading supermarkets could make a real difference to accelerating that research.”