How we spend your money


Together, we’re researching to make a difference to the 10 million people in the UK living with arthritis. Thanks to your incredible generosity and work we’ve already made the biggest breakthrough in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis – anti TNF therapy. Since its approval in 1998 infliximab alone has transformed the lives 1.9 million people with inflammatory arthritis.

In 2021–22 we invested more than £18 million in 33 exciting research studies that will move us further and faster along the pathway to developing a cure and more effective treatments for people with arthritis.

Our total current investment in research totals more than £118 million across 250 live awards.

15 research awards were made this year in partnership with other funders, including National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), the Medical Research Council, Fight for Sight and the Connect Immune Research consortium of funders alongside the Chernajovsky Foundation.

Together, these partnerships have leveraged over £18 million in funding from our partners for research into arthritis and associated musculoskeletal conditions, including pain research.


We’re committed to providing trusted advice and support to help people with arthritis feel empowered to manage their condition.

People with arthritis were supported over 80,400 times through Versus Arthritis local, commissioned and young people and families services.

711 volunteers supported our work this year, delivering services, running groups, campaigning, shaping research and raising the funds we need to keep pushing against arthritis.

We engaged with over 1,000 young people who were new to Versus Arthritis through our Young People and Families services.

Providing people with the support, motivation and techniques to manage their own health and wellbeing – a model of self-management - is at the core of our services.

There were over 7,400 interactions with our physical activity offer this year, which includes walking groups and exercise classes run by our network of volunteers. Additionally physical activities funded through our Sport England partnership and online resources like the Let’s Move with Leon programme opened up more opportunities for people with arthritis to access safe, supported physical activities.

Raising awareness

Everybody affected by arthritis needs everybody behind them. We’re working closely with partners and policy makers to make sure the pain of arthritis isn’t ignored.

Our Impossible to Ignore campaign continued to galvanise the Versus Arthritis community and drive change at a national and local level. More than 46,000 people signed petitions which were delivered to all UK governments in June 2021, demanding clear strategies to tackle the joint replacement surgery backlog, bring down waiting times and ensure each person waiting can access the treatment and support they need. Pressure applied by the campaign influenced the publication of elective recovery plans in all four nations by April 2022.

Our report, Unseen, Unequal and Unfair: Chronic pain in England, was released in summer 2021. It highlights how chronic pain affects us and what needs to be done about the unseen and unequal burden it places on individuals and wider society. Its recommendations include calls for health and care decision-makers to reduce the health inequalities that worsen chronic pain for the most deprived, for women and for some minority ethnic groups, and to implement and report progress on plans to address chronic pain.

Working with healthcare professionals

The work of our Professional Engagement team has been crucial in a year in which the NHS has been under sustained pressure and the number of people with arthritis waiting for treatment is at a record high.

In 2021-22:

  • We delivered over 5,400 live training interactions with healthcare professionals.
  • Grew of our healthcare professionals’ network to over 10,550 (37,000 in 2020/21) reflects the value placed on our quality support, resources and training.
  • Increased the number of times our self-learning resources were accessed to over 126,000 37,000 in 2020/21).

This tripling in demand demonstrates that our resources are needed more than ever as GPs and healthcare professionals have had to adjust the way they support people with arthritis throughout the pandemic.