Since 1993, The Somerville Foundation has been there to support adults and young people with congenital heart disease (CHD). Not only do they provide support to adults living in the UK who were born with a heart condition, they also give information and advice to young people making the transition into adult services. Their aim is to create a world where CHD patients are given the best medical care and are able to live healthy and happy lives.
About The Somerville Foundation
The charity started as the Grown Up Congenital Heart Patients Association in 1993. It was founded by Professor Jane Somerville, with funding initially supplied by the British Heart Foundation. Created for congenital heart patients so they could help and support each other, it became a registered charity in 1994. In 2012, the charity was renamed The Somerville Foundation in honour of its founder. Overall, their aims are:
Provide all congenital heart patients with information and advice that’s accurate and up to date.
Fight isolation and poverty that can be experienced by congenital heart patients and their families.
Combat discrimination through campaigning, education, and promoting patient rights.
Allow patients to learn from and support each other by sharing their experiences.
How Does The Somerville Foundation Change Lives of Those Living With Congenital Heart Disease?
Thanks to its supporters, the charity was able to open the UK’s first dedicated congenital heart research centre. The state of the art facility was opened in partnership with The Somerville Foundation and the University of Suffolk. Combining the charity’s patient support expertise along with the university’s expertise in cardiovascular science, the centre focuses on creating more effective ways to treat and support CHD patients. The charity has also been able to provide grants for cardiologists, academics and medics in order to explore better treatments for patients, and to those wanting to improve the mental health of these patients too.
Support and Advice
The Somerville Foundation has a wide selection of resources and information to support CHD patients, as well as advice for families and carers. These resources include:
They also offer online support communities that allow patients to connect with others living with CHD. In addition, the charity’s helpline is there to provide confidential telephone support.
Mental Health and Wellbeing Counselling
Living with CHD can be isolating, lonely and frightening. The Somerville Foundation’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Counsellor is available for patients and their families to talk through any aspects of CHD.
Whether it’s through being unable to work or the costs of care, congenital heart disease can sometimes place a financial burden on patients. The Somerville Foundation has funds available which help to relieve any financial pressure that patients may be under, helping to remove the stress of money worries.
Campaigns and Research
The charity also fights for better services and support for CHD patients, and works with research organisations. Current initiatives include involvement in the CHAMPION project, which aims to help change and shape the future outcomes for those with CHD, and the ‘Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve’ campaign, which aims to raise awareness of CHD.
Support The Somerville Foundation This October
There are thousands of adults in the UK living with congenital heart disease, however thanks to research, more patients are surviving into adulthood and living healthy, happy lives.
Without the generosity of their supporters, the work that The Somerville Foundation does wouldn't be possible. This October, we’re supporting them in our charity poll with a chance to win 20% of this month’s profits. You can help The Somerville Foundation heal even more broken hearts by casting your vote for them in our October charity poll.
Find out more about the charity and how you can get involved by visiting their website: https://thesf.org.uk/.