Guts UK celebrates 53 years of getting to grips with guts!

30th June 2024

Earlier this month, we celebrated our 53rd birthday!

53 years ago, our founders got together and decided that they wanted to do something to end the pain and suffering that you and I know too well. Our guts have been underfunded, understaffed and undervalued for too long. They’ve also been hugely misunderstood. We exist to change that.

For over five decades, we’ve been dedicated to improving your experience of living with digestive symptoms and condition. We don’t just celebrate our journey, but we applaud the incredible force that drives us forward, day in, and day out, come rain or shine. That collaborative force is you.

Finding a name that gives you the right gut-feeling

Guts UK is the charity for the digestive system and is the only UK charity that funds research into the digestive system from top to tail; the gut, liver and pancreas. 

Does our name sound familiar to you? If not, then this might be why. In 1971, our charity was founded. We grew out of the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG), so had excellent backing from our fellow ‘guardians of the gut’. We were originally known as the Digestive Disorders Foundation, and in the decades that followed, began funding medical research. Research that had a lasting impact on our understanding of digestive diseases and on improving patient care.

In 2007, we changed our name to Core, but something still wasn’t quite right. Fast forward to 2018 when we rebranded to Guts UK Charity, a name that says exactly what it is on the tin! Our website visitors shot up from 30,000 a year to over 100,000 a month. We were finally reaching those who needed us most.

Tell me about Guts UK’s mission?

As a charity, we have three objectives:

  • Provide expert information to patients and their families. 

Information is power! When armed with evidence-based, expert information, patients can take control of their health and make well-informed decisions.  

  • Raise public awareness. 

Our research shows that 58% of people are embarrassed to talk about their digestive condition or symptoms. 51% of people delay seeking advice for their symptoms for over 6 months. We empower people to seek help. One of the wonderful ways we do this is by taking our wonderful, giant, inflatable colon, “Colin”, on the road! 

  • Fund life-changing and life-saving research 

Guts UK is the only UK charity funding research into the digestive system from top to tail. 

Our impact

Since the relaunch of Guts UK in 2018, it’s safe to say we’ve had a pretty big impact on this gutsy world.

Let’s dive deeper into this, in line with our objectives.

To provide expert information

Since 2018:

  • Almost 1 million leaflets have been delivered into the hands of those who need who needed it most, when they needed it the most.
  • Nearly 7.5 million website visitors have discovered our evidence-based information online.
  • Over 3,800 phone calls and 6,000 e-mail enquiries have been answered.

You’re not alone and nobody deserves to suffer in silence when it comes to their digestive health. You help us get our trusted information into the right hands, at the right time.

To raise vital public awareness

Since 2018, with just some of our awareness campaigns alone:

  • We have shared 120 stories for our Kranky Panky Pancreatitis Awareness Campaign. Told by you, your families and loved ones. Stories that we can learn from and stories that make others feel seen and heard.
  • Over 500 #GUTSelfies have been posted on Instagram since 2021 to raise vital awareness and encourage conversations surrounding our guts. You are helping to reduce the stigma surrounding them. It’s time for a world where talking about one of the most natural processes on Earth is no longer seen as a taboo subject.

You help us to make vital noise for our guts and encourage those around you to speak up when something isn’t right.

To fund life-changing and life-saving research

To date, we have:

  • Funded over 450 research projects into our digestive systems.
  • Invested over £15.5 million into medical research. Your support makes it possible.
  • Supported over 15 early career researchers since the launch of the Early Career Research grants in 2021.

You help us aim towards earlier diagnoses, kinder treatments and ultimately, a cure.

So, what now?

We dream and aim big. 25 feet of guts is a lot to understand, after all. It’s been 53 years and we are doing better, but the UK has still not got to grips with guts. Our work is far from over. This is why we need you to help keep driving us forward. Together, let’s take even bigger strides for our guts, into a world where misunderstood guts are a thing of the past!

None of this would be possible without you. You are at the heart of what we do. Thank you for championing our cause and helping us help the UK. Together, let’s get to grips with guts!

Consider donating to Guts UK Charity today to help create a much brighter future for our guts. Thank you.

Useful links

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