About Alan Davidson Foundation
The Alan Davidson Foundation is a UK registered charity. The Foundation supports a wide range of causes. There is a strong focus on MND research as well as architecture, care, and communications initiatives that benefit those with disabling neurological conditions.
Founded and led by architect Alan Davidson, the Foundation benefits from his experience of MND and his passions for architecture and technology. Alan was the founder of London based architecture visualisation studio Hayes Davidson, one of the early pioneers of architectural computer graphics (CGI). He was diagnosed with MND in 2012, and lost the battle to the disease in August 2018.
MND, Motor Neurone Disease is a terminal condition that currently has no cure. It progressively damages the nervous system, leading to muscle wasting. As damage progresses, the condition becomes more debilitating. Communicating, swallowing and breathing become difficult and eventually a person with MND may be unable to move and become 'locked in'. MND is more often referred to as 'ALS' outside of the UK.
Alan was committed to helping people with MND and associated neurological conditions by supporting initiatives that improve their lives through better care and support, and funding research work to find a cure for MND. The Foundation carefully researches the organisations that it funds, with a preference for 'open source' research data where information is registered, reported and shared globally between research centres. Details of the projects and organisations that we have supported to date follow.
The Foundation supports a wide range of organisations, charities and worthy causes. Funding is allocated after we have researched and most often met with the individual or organisation and discussed in detail the area of work that requires funding. We are proud to have supported the following projects:
3 Peaks Challenge
Alan's sister Jane, brother in law Alan, and nephew Tom trained for weeks to walk the three peaks Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis, Snowdon this summer. Everything they raised was match funded by the Foundation, totalling nearly £7,000. The money will go towards a range of causes, primarily MND care and research.
Hayes Davidson 5K Run
In May 2018, a hundred of the UK’s top architects and designers competed in a 5K race in aide of the Motor Neurone Disease Association in London’s Hyde Park. The event, ‘HD5K’ was conceived and organised by Hayes Davidson, and raised £30,000, which was match funded by the Foundation, a total of £60,000. Practices competing included AL_A, Heatherwick Studio, Hemingway Design, Jason Bruges Studio, John Pawson, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects and was sponsored by Dezeen, the Design Museum, Vitra and The World Architectural Festival.
Article 25 | 10x10
Article 25 (initially Architects for Aid) was founded by Maxwell Hutchinson in 2006, the broadcaster and past president of RIBA. Caught up in the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, Mr Hutchinson recognised the potential impact the built environment could have on saving lives. The charity has worked on over 85 projects in 34 countries around the world to benefit some of the world’s most vulnerable societies. Norman Foster, founder and chairman of Foster & Partners, is patron. In September 2017, The Alan Davidson Foundation took part in 10x10, Article 25's flagship fundraising event, and subsequently contributed funds.
In 1981, MND Scotland was founded by John Macleod, a 32 year old Strathclyde police officer, who had MND. Together with his wife, family and friends, they started the charity to help those with MND in Scotland. At the time John was diagnosed, services were limited and health professionals had little or no knowledge of the condition. John’s aim was to help change this and the Scottish Motor Neurone Disease Association was born. MND Scotland is the only Scottish charity providing care and support to people affected by Motor Neurone Disease (MND), as well as funding research into finding a cure.
Neuroscience at King's College London
The Foundation has funded neuroscience research at the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute, part of King’s College, London. The Institute brings together 170 clinicians and scientists from many disciplines including: neuroimaging, neurology, psychiatry, genetics, cellular biology and drug discovery to advance understanding of disease and develop new therapies for psychiatric and neurological conditions including MND, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, depression, schizophrenia, epilepsy and stroke.
Built in the grounds of NHS cancer hospitals, there are 15 Maggie’s Centres across the UK. Each has professional staff on hand to offer free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends. Maggie Keswick Jencks lived with advanced cancer for two years. During that time she created a blueprint for a new type of care; uplighting and sympathetic both internally and externally, the design of each centre being of the highest architectural quality. Maggie’s Centres are built around the belief that people should not “lose the joy of living in the fear of dying”.
Médecins Sans Frontières
Founded in Switzerland in 1971 by a small group of French doctors and journalists who sought to expand accessibility to medical care, Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders, provide medical support and care across national and international boundaries, irrespective of race, religion, creed or political affiliation. Now a 30,000 strong international NGO, the staff, mainly volunteers, work extensively in war-torn regions and developing countries affected by endemic diseases who would otherwise have no access to medical help.
MND Care Coordinator, Oxford
This specialist care centre located within the John Radcliffe hospital offers multidisciplinary care and support to patients and carers living with Motor Neurone Disease. The MND Specialist Nurse and Care Centre Coordinator is a critical role which provides a point-of-contact service for patients between clinic visits, and facilitates the communication of information between all those locally involved in an individual patient's care. The Centre Coordinator also provides emotional support for patients and their carers. The Foundation is currently funding this position.
Clinical trials, which can involve thousands of people, are the best method to test whether a medicine is safe and effective. Currently there is no complete list of all clinical trials, so it’s unknown which trials have taken place, or what was found in them. The AllTrials campaign was launched in January 2013 and calls for all past and present clinical trials to be registered and their results reported.
Sense About Science
Sense about Science is an independent charity founded in 2001. They advocate openness and honesty about scientific research, and ensure the public interest in sound science and evidence is recognised in public debates and policymaking. They have produced many publications that challenge the misrepresentation of science and evidence in public life including ‘I don’t know what to believe’; a guide for the general public to help clarify and discern what is true from amongst constant bombardment of ‘scientific’ information from the media and the internet.
Motor Neurone Disease Association
Founded in 1979, the MNDA is the only national charity in the UK solely focused on MND care and research. The organisation has over 9,000 members forming a powerful national and local network that provides information, support and continually campaigns for improved services. There are 7,000 active volunteers in the UK and around 170 paid staff, all dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by MND, now and in the future. The Foundation continues to support the Association at all levels.
Project MinE is a major international collaboration involving 16 countries – their goal is to understand the genetic basis of MND/ALS and to ultimately find a cure for the disease. Their aim is to analyse the DNA of at least 15,000 ALS patients and 7,500 control subjects. The resulting 22,500 DNA profiles will be compared. So far they are 36% towards their goal. Researchers are examining whole genome sequencing to find links between genes and MND. The Foundation is funding the sequencing of gene samples.
MND Research, Oxford
Pioneering research work is being undertaken by Professor Kevin Talbot who leads the MND Care and Research Centre based at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. Professor of Motor Neurone Biology and a consultant neurologist, his research interest is in understanding the molecular basis of motor neurones and other neurodegenerative disorders. The Foundation helped fund the "Stem cell models of Motor Neurone Disease” research project.
St John’s Hospice
St John’s Hospice, London, is an independent charity located within the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth (founded in 1856). For the last 30 years, St John’s has been providing specialised palliative care to more than 3,000 Central and NW London based terminally-ill patients and their families every year. It costs more than £5m p/a to provide the support to patients and families and £13.5k to run the hospice for a day. The Foundation was glad to help support the refurbishment of the in-patient care area.