About Us

Our mission

Facial Palsy UK’s mission is for every person in the UK affected by facial palsy to be given access to the best information, treatment and support available.

Our aims

Facial Palsy UK pledges:

  • To increase awareness of facial palsy and its social, physical and psychological consequences.
  • To improve the physical and emotional health of adults and children with facial palsy
  • To promote diagnosis, acute and long-term management and rehabilitation of people living with facial palsy.

Our objectives

  • To provide information and support for people living with facial palsy, their relatives, carers and medical professionals.
  • To establish local support groups throughout the UK.
  • To organise family days for children affected by the condition and their families
  • To raise funds to support research and training for professionals involved in the diagnosis, management and treatment of facial palsy. This should allow for better treatments, which should be made accessible to all.
  • To publicise the effects of facial palsy and the need for greater services.

Please see our Strategic Plan 2019-2022 for more information (opens in new window).

Why is the charity needed?

Facial Palsy UK is still a very young charity (set up in 2012), the first charity to offer specific support to people affected by facial palsy due to any cause. Facial palsy, sometimes known as facial paralysis, is a condition resulting from damage or absence or impairment of the facial nerve that supplies the muscles of facial function and expression, and affects blinking, closing the eye for sleep, eating and drinking, speech, smiling and frowning. Facial palsy can be the result of multiple causes: disease, injury, stroke, birth trauma, cancer, or neurological condition – to name but a few. Whatever the cause, the physical, emotional and psychological consequences of living with facial palsy are usually the same, although to varying degrees, and they can be equally devastating for the people affected and their families.

The need for a charity specifically for facial palsy was recognised following the development of the Facial Palsy Clinic at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead. In 2009, Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon Charles Nduka who set up the service conducted a survey and in conjunction with patient feedback noted that:

  • The average duration between the onset of paralysis and referral to a specialist for treatment was 5.6 years which means that there is a huge unmet need for help.
  • Patients were travelling from across the UK (including Northern Ireland and Scotland) in order to be seen.
  • The information that patients had been given by some health professionals was incorrect and might impact negatively on their outcome.
  • There were limited resources in the community to support patients, their relatives and partners.

Whilst existing charities help and support some patients with specific causes of facial palsy (such as the British Acoustic Neuroma Association, or the Bell’s Palsy Association), many patients do not fall within any recognised group and are therefore without support.

Added to the frustration of living with facial palsy is the public perception that the condition is purely a cosmetic issue, rather than a functional one affecting communication (facial expression), eating and drinking, and the closure of the eye on the affected side.

How will we make a difference?

We have various plans to make a difference to the lives of people affected by facial palsy. We intend to:

  • Raise awareness of facial palsy and how it impacts on the lives of those affected, and to challenge those who perceive this to be simply a cosmetic condition.
  • Provide support to people affected by facial palsy, ensuring advice and help is given responsibly without bias. Support will be offered via various channels ensuring it is accessible to all.
  • Increase awareness of the needs of facial palsy patients.
  • Standardise assessment procedures.
  • Promote training of more specialists so treatments are more widely available and easier to access.
  • Instigate research projects for the long-term benefit of people affected by facial palsy. Very few research projects investigating the causes and treatments of facial palsy are currently being undertaken.

Our vision

Facial Palsy UK has a clear vision for the future:

  • A greater understanding among health professionals and the public about the functional and psychological aspects of facial palsy.
  • For patients to receive timely access to care, to minimise the risks of physical and psychological complications of the condition.
  • For treatments for facial palsy (at a specialist level) to be available to all in the UK.
  • Ongoing support for anyone with facial palsy who desires more confidence and greater self-esteem.
  • To encourage good quality research to be conducted into the causes and treatments of facial palsy.

How we work together to achieve this vision

We work together as a team, we listen to the experiences of everyone affected by facial palsy and empower people by involving them in decision making and provision of services.

We are forward-thinking and always seeking to improve.

We are focused on providing services of the highest standards and on delivering results which will make a real difference to people’s lives.

Further information about Facial Palsy UK

Last reviewed: 10-09-2019    ||    Next review due: 10-09-2022