Providing support and promoting respect for everyone with a visible difference

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Our impact

We want to create a future where everyone with a visible difference can live the life they want. Find out how our work is already making a difference.

We are here to support the one in five people in the UK who are living with a mark, scar or condition that makes them look different.

People with visible differences tell us about the transformational impact our work can have. Our life-changing services build confidence and resilience. They give people with visible differences or disfigurements, the tools to manage their feelings, cope in different social settings, handle other people’s reactions or deal with transitions such as starting school.

On this page, we provide a summary of our activities and impact for the financial year 2022 – 2023 and how they relate to our strategic goals.

Improving access to support

Our first goal is to ensure everyone with a visible difference or disfigurement has access to the support they need.

One of the ways we measure this is through our annual surveys. In our initial survey with Savanta ComRes, 39% of people reported that limited availability was a barrier to accessing psychological support. This dropped to 27% in our 2022 survey. The reasons for this considerable drop are likely to be broader than the impact of our work, but it’s positive nonetheless.

Another measurement is the number of people enquiring about or self-referring to our services. We received 3,618 self-referrals across our skin camouflage and wellbeing services in 2022/23, which is a 19% increase on 2021/22 levels.

Our support in numbers

  • 3,149

    Direct clients supported

    broken down into 1,998 skin camouflage clients and 1,161 wellbeing clients.

  • 39


    who receive media and public speaking training to share campaign messages.

  • 47,000

    unique page views

    of our online self-help pages, which is a 45% increase on the previous year.

Improving the wellbeing of people using our services

Satisfaction and outcomes are consistently high, with 89% of clients stating that the service helped them to manage their appearance-related concerns.

We use the Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale to measure the impact of our counselling and Skin Camouflage Services. Comparing their scores before and after support, clients using these services saw a positive shift (1.6 points).

SWEMWBS scores at three survey intervals - before they received services, after sessions ended and on follow-up. Clients with low initial scores reduced from 51% to 22%, moderate scores increased from 38% to 60% and high scores increased from 11% to 18%

We’ve highlighted the experiences of some of our previous clients below. For more examples, please see our real stories.

Client experiences

Izzy's story

Izzy has a condition called Parry Romberg Syndrome. She joined our Peer Group Chat service, and says "Signing up was the best thing I’ve ever done."

Finley, a two year old boy with lymphangioma, which causes swelling in the lower half of his face, with his mother and family.

Gemma and Finley's story

Gemma's son, Finley has a rare condition called lymphangioma. She attended a parent workshop, which taught her simple tools to deflect unwanted attention.

Joe is a white male in his twenties, with short dark hair and small scars around his eyebrow.

Joe's story

Joe sustained scars to his face and body. Through our Skin Camouflage Service, he soon felt his confidence grow and his mental health improve drastically.

Who are we reaching?

We monitor the demographics of our clients to understand who we’re currently reaching and who might potentially be underrepresented.

  • Gender: 79% of clients identified as female, with 20% male and 1% self-identifying.
  • Disability: Only 17% of clients identified as being disabled.
  • Age range: 22% of clients were between 30 and 39 years old, 18% were between 20 and 29, and 18% were between 40 and 49. 15% were between 50 and 59, 14% were under the age of 20 and 12% were 60+.
  • Ethnicity: 61% of clients identified as White (British or other), 18% as Asian/Asian British and 8% as Black/African/Caribbean/Black British.
  • Type of visible difference: While clients may have more than one condition, the main conditions seen were skin conditions at 48%, scarring at 32%, burns at 4% and cancer at 4%

Increasing awareness, understanding and acceptance

We want to improve the general public’s understanding of the impact of living with a visible difference and to give people with visible differences a platform to share their experiences.

Our campaigns, education and learning programmes drive change so that the ambitions of people with visible differences aren’t limited by attitudes, behaviours or systems and they can lead the lives they choose.

Awareness raising in numbers

  • 49

    Real stories

    published, with almost 53,000 unique page views, which is an increase of 55% on the previous year.

  • 70,000

    Video views

    for our Face Equality Week campaign video, which focused on the theme of staring.

  • 248m

    Total media reach

    Media peices that included quotes or stories from people living with a visible difference reached 153 million people.

The impact of our campaigns

In 2022/23 our campaigns aimed to raise awareness of the impact that negative behaviours can have on people with a visible difference.

  • Our annual Face Equality Week was themed around staring. It resulted in 110 pieces of media coverage and our video had over 70,000 views on social media.
  • In December 2022, there was an incident on the BBC 2 quiz show, Only Connect, where the word “scar” was linked with “blot”, “stain” and “stigma” under the category name “marks of shame”. Our reactive campaign reached more than 164,000 accounts on social media and achieved national coverage including in the Daily Mail, Digital Spy, The Times and The Mirror. We also secured an apology from the BBC and, with our ambassadors, gave the production company in charge of Only Connect a session on how to better represent people with visible differences.
  • In total, we reached over 248 million people through 329 media hits. Of these, 181 included quotes or stories from someone with a visible difference, reaching 153 million people.

Our education work

We continue to work with teachers and health professionals, both of whom have an important role in supporting people with a visible difference. Our education resources were downloaded 2,763 times, with our PSHE-accredited A World of Difference resources accounting for 70% of these.

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Get involved in our work

Donate, campaign, fundraise, volunteer or partner with us – whether you’re an individual supporter or a business, there are loads of ways to support our work.

Our annual reports and accounts

View our annual reports and accounts to see our income sources and how we use the funds we raise to support people with a visible difference.

Donate now

By making a kind donation through our secure online form, you will help us continue our vital work supporting people living with a visible difference.