A charity that delivers support to families of children with heart disease in Northern Ireland.
The Children’s Heartbeat Trust started out as ‘Heartbeat’ in 1984 as a support group for parents of children with congenital heart disease.
Mr Frank Caddy was the first chairperson, and he found that many parents wished to give something back to Clark Clinic. The organisation asked the first paediatric cardiologist, the now retired Dr Connor Mulholland (past Chairman of the charity’s Board of Directors) what the ward needed, and so the first Echo Scanner was purchased for Clark Clinic in 1985.
Over the past 25 years ‘Heartbeat’ has provided essential equipment and resources for Clark Clinic, highlights being the parents accommodation above Clark Clinic and the ‘Heartbeat Suite’ – a pioneering centre providing innovative tele-care for parents in the home. In 2008, ‘Heartbeat’ became part of the renamed Children’s Heartbeat Trust (previously Children’s Heart Trust) to create a closer working relationship between the Trustees and Parents Groups and improve governance and public accountability.
Until 2009 the charity was completely dependent on volunteers; however the time and energy required to meet the needs and challenges of today, led the charity towards the appointment of a full-time employee in July 2009. Since this point Children’s Heartbeat Trust has grown and developed, with the support of the Directors, the clinical team in Clark Clinic and the hundreds of families affected by heart disease in children and young people in Northern Ireland.
In the past three years the charity has won awards for its work in key areas; NI4Kids Family Support Charity of the Year 2012, Institute of Fundraising Corporate Partnership of the Year with PWC 2012-13 & CO3’s Leading on Political Impact in the Third Sector 2015. We have introduced crucial new family support services such as counselling and a teens programme as well as successfully lobbying and campaigning for heart families and delivering our first outdoor advertising awareness campaign in 2015.
The Children’s Heartbeat Trust team has now four members, all focused on providing a high level of practical and emotional support for children and young people with heart disease in Northern Ireland, and their families.
Registered with the Charity Commission NI – NIC102410
Clark Clinic, The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children