Charity, Patient or Professional Association of the Year

Sponsored by


Meningitis Research Foundation

Summary of work

Meningitis is a deadly disease. In the UK it kills one in ten of those affected, and leaves a third of survivors with life-changing after-effects, some as serious as brain damage, blindness or limb loss. Globally, meningitis is a leading infectious cause of death in children, yet our research showed that progress lags substantially behind other infectious diseases. In 2018, Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) made vital steps to change this a with a number of successful communications campaigns resulting in increased direct action from those at risk and major policy changes. Unprecedented results for the charity included: improved knowledge of the symptoms in young babies; progress towards fairer access to vaccines for rare, serious diseases like meningitis; helping recruit participants for a long-called for research study in teenagers; increasing awareness of an existing vaccine for teenagers; improving the diagnosis pathway for patients with meningitis. Whilst maintaining this excellent presence working in the UK, the charity achieved its biggest milestone to date by gaining international consensus that there needs to be a coordinated effort to defeat meningitis globally. The World Health Organization responded by officially launching the ‘Defeating Meningitis by 2030 Initiative’ and made MRF part of the taskforce. The charity worked tirelessly to achieve big ambitions in 2018, all the while remaining personable and approachable to member families that the charity supports.

Judges’ comments

The meningitis Research Foundation demonstrated good work, a high profile and strong momentum. The adoption by the NHS as well as the fact they sent resources to all GPS was really stand-out and this project was incredibly cost effective for such a small team. The testimony from the World Health Organisation was also really impressive.




MS Society

Highly commended

Versus Arthritis