We’re not a big charity. We raised about £850,000 last year, which is a decent contribution to dementia research, but it doesn’t compare with the giant national charities working for various causes.

You might think that you need to support a big, corporate charity to make a difference, but we know that this is not the case. Even better, many of you are telling us the same thing!

Large charities working in dementia or other medical causes, or in the relief of poverty in its many forms, clearly have an important role. I’m not knocking them, and we’re glad to collaborate with bigger dementia charities when the opportunity arises.

A bit of probing below the surface, however, will reveal what I call the ‘biodiversity’ of the charity sector, the necessity of the small charities that keep causes alive and find their way into the gaps between the big funders.

In BRACE’s case, that means our willingness to fund pilot projects that harness the imagination and inspiration of scientists to explore new approaches to dementia. It is these small beginnings that make the bigger research projects and clinical drug trials possible. We also fund PhD projects, through which promising lines of enquiry are pursued while, at the same time, outstanding young scientists are trained to be the leading dementia researchers of tomorrow.

In short, we are helping turn inspired ideas into the means to fight back against dementia, and creating a new generation of scientists to build on the work of their predecessors. Without BRACE, some major progress against dementia would not have happened so soon and perhaps never.

The scientists we work with are in no doubt that BRACE is fulfilling a need that the policies of other charities do not cover. Earlier this week, I was with two leading scientists who told me that they were glad that BRACE is still willing to fund some of the basic science, grappling with the causes of dementia. Pharmaceutical companies have endured some headline failures in recent years because, perhaps, they simply weren’t ready to develop treatments without first understanding better the mechanisms of the illness.

Supporters also find that working with a small charity is a different experience to raising funds for a large one. We only have six staff, so you can easily get to know us. We also provide opportunities to meet our eleven trustees and talk to some of the many scientists we help to fund.

So, if you don’t already know us, please get in touch. We’re small enough for you to make a big difference to us, and large enough to make a difference in dementia research.