Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Chief Executive, Sarah Quinlan wins CO3 Leading on Political Impact Award

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Sarah Quinlan, CEO of the Children’s Heartbeat Trust has won the prestigious Leading on Political Impact Award at CO3 Chief Officers Third Sector’s Leadership Awards gala at the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle, Co. Down. The award recognised the success of the ‘Hands Up for Children’s Heart Surgery’ campaign, which successfully prevented children’s heart surgery services from being moved to England in the long-term, instead to be managed through a Belfast-Dublin network arrangement.

The CO3 Awards took place as part of CO3’s leadership Conference, gathering just under 200 Northern Ireland charity leaders as well as an impressive combination of NI, GB and US experts in Third Sector issues.

Judged by independent experts, the coveted CO3 Leadership awards reward the passion and successes of Third Sector Chief Officers in Northern Ireland through eight categories.

Nora Smith, Chief Executive, CO3, said: “CO3 are delighted to recognise the talent, passion and real changes Northern Ireland Third Sector leaders make at the heart of our communities. “For one night every year, the CO3 Leadership Awards shine a light on these leaders who work selflessly, quietly, and intensively to achieve life-changing results for those in most need. “Sarah Quinlan and her team at the Children Heartbeat Trust have made a significant difference to the care of children suffering from heart disease. Her contribution to the political process is testament that Third Sector leaders play a central role in influencing our government’s decision-making. Sarah is a worthy winner of the Leading on Political Award, sponsored by nfpSynergy.”

On receiving her award, Sarah Quinlan said: “It was very special to be a contender for this prestigious CO3 Award but winning it means the world to me.

“It is a great pleasure and honour to be acknowledged for achieving, as a team and with the support of our fantastic heart families,

Pictured from left to right: David Meade, Broadcaster, Sarah Quinlan, CEO, Children’s Heartbeat Trust and winner of the CO3 Leading on Political Impact Award, Tim Harrison, Research Director, nfpSynergy (award sponsors), and Nora Smith, CEO, CO3 Chief Officers Third Sector

Pictured from left to right: David Meade, Broadcaster, Sarah Quinlan, CEO, Children’s Heartbeat Trust and winner of the CO3 Leading on Political Impact Award, Tim Harrison, Research Director, nfpSynergy (award sponsors), and Nora Smith, CEO, CO3 Chief Officers Third Sector

wider society and the media, the retention of children’s heart surgery services on the island of Ireland. “I am very proud of this award and of my fellow nominees, all worthy of similar recognition.”

A problem shared…..

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

In response to a need for families to be able to access local, professional support we have been working closely with Carecall to provide a confidential counselling service for families in Northern Ireland with children and young people that have been affected by heart disease.

This service is completely free of charge and appointments can be set up either individually, as a couple or as a family unit.

For immediate 24/7 support freephone (landline only) 0800 389 5362

For appointment bookings call; 028 90896510 or email;

HBT Poster-page-001

Launch of Family Heart Book and Counselling services

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Mayor of Derry Brenda Stevenson, today helped Northern Ireland’s leading children’s heart charity launch two new family support initiatives; Counselling Services and a new ‘Family Heart Book’ at the Guildhall in Derry.

The book, which is the first of its kind, is published by the Children’s Heartbeat Trust and aims to help children who are born with a heart defect make sense of their condition and treatment in a simple and artistic way as they grow up.

Having a child with heart disease or facing the prospect of your child’s heart surgery can be an overwhelming experiences, and the new counselling initiative will offer a free and confidential service to heart families to help them cope with the anxiety and stress.

Support to help deliver these initiatives came from the family of Kerry Crocker who was born with a complex congenital heart defect and grew up in Derry. Sadly Kerry passed away in May 2013 aged 19. Since then Kerry’s family have been active fundraisers for the Children’s Heartbeat Trust and wanted to take these efforts a step further by helping other children with congenital heart defects understand their experiences and for their families to have enhanced support in place.

Speaking at the event Kerry’s mum Wendy said: “As Kerry grew up we saw how difficult it was for her to understand why she had to go to hospital and work through the different challenges of growing up a serious heart defect. A ‘Family Heart Book’ like this would have been a real help in talking through and discussing these issues, both for Kerry and her siblings. The new counselling service will also offer much needed professional support for heart families who have to face so many different issues and anxieties.

“Hopefully our experience can help other heart families and we are delighted that the Children’s Heartbeat Trust has developed these two new family support initiatives,” she added.

Speaking at the launch Sarah Quinlan, Chief Executive of Children’s Heartbeat Trust said: “We are really excited to launch the ‘Family Heart Book’ and Counselling Services for heart families across Northern Ireland. When children find out that they have a heart defect it can be very difficult for them to understand about their condition. By using creative ways of charting their own journey and mapping their progress, the book will help children cope with their condition and help reduce worry about treatment and hospital visits. This is the first book in a planned series of three to adapt to different challenges that arise a child grows up. It is a fun way to deal with a serious subject and we encourage any families affected by congenital heart disease to get their hands on one.”

In partnership with Carecall we are responding to a real need for our heart families to be able to access professional support through a counselling service to help all members of the families cope with the realities of having a child, brother or sister with a congenital heart defect.

Mayor of Derry Brenda Stevenson with heart kids at the launch of our Family Heart Book and Counselling services.

Mayor of Derry Brenda Stevenson with heart kids at the launch of our Family Heart Book and Counselling services.

HBT Poster-page-001   5082KR - Family Heart Book-page-001

Lord Mayor of Belfast Cllr Nichola Mallon is CHD Aware for CHD Awareness Week

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

On Monday 9th the Lord Mayor of Belfast Cllr Nichola Mallon met with two of our young heart heroes, Seb and Eva to help raise awareness of Congenital Heart Disease.

One year old Seb McNally joined Eva Toman (4) and Riley Hearst (3) along with their parents at the City Hall who spoke about their experiences of raising children born with congenital heart disease. All three children have undergone at least one heart operation, with most expected to have further surgery during their infancy and early years.

Speaking after the event, Lord Mayor Cllr Nichola Mallon said: “Congenital Heart Disease is Northern Ireland’s most common birth defect and I was touched to hear the stories of children and their families today. The work of clinicians at Clark Clinic and those at the Children’s Heartbeat Trust is vital in providing both medical care, and in raising awareness, providing assistance and support for children and their families.”

Seb McNally (1) and Eva Toman (4) with the Lord Mayor of Belfast

Seb McNally (1) and Eva Toman (4) with the Lord Mayor of Belfast

Caravan Bookings

Friday, February 6th, 2015


Our caravans in Ballycastle and Newcastle will be open from Easter right through the summer for our heart families. Both caravans are always very popular and we do our best to accommodate as many families as we can. If  you would like to be added to the list of families hoping to make a booking and have not stayed in the caravans in 2014 then please email Alison at

Responding to the Dept of Health Consultation is easy!

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

The Children’s Heartbeat Trust would encourage all our heart families and members to respond to the current consultation on the future of children’s heart services for Northern Ireland.

It is really important that you let the Department of Health know what you think and the deadline is 23 January so you have to do it before then..

It is really easy for you to respond!

1. The ideal way is to fill in the Response form that is on the Department of Health website – you can find the consultation document and this form at

We have created Guidelines to help you fill in this form.  You can download the guidelines hereConsultation Guidelines


2. We know how busy everyone is so to help with time we have also drawn up two sample letters that you can add your own information to.  We have based these on information and feedback we have had from heart families about their concerns

Sample Letter 1 – families whose child has had or will need heart surgery

Sample Letter 2 – families whose child receives ongoing care and treatment at Clark Clinic.

There will obviously be overlap between these two so feel free to swap around information and definitely add your own thoughts too!

The email address to send this letter to is: 

or you can send it by hard copy to: Congenital Cardiac Services Consultation, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Room 1, Annex 1, Stormont Estate, Belfast, BT4 3SQ

The charity has developed these guidelines and sample letters to help you respond to this consultation but please respond in whichever way you feel best gets across your point, what is the most important thing is that you put forward your thoughts and concerns.

consultation image



Christmas Cracker No.3!

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014


On 8 April 2013, over 80 MLAs signed a pledge to protect childrens heart services in Northern Ireland.

Although the children’s surgical service is now moving to Dublin, we think the MLA’s should be reminded of their promises to heart families across Northern Ireland and asked what they are doing to ensure that heart children in their constituencies will be able to access their care in a service that has been invested in and protected against any further dismantling.

On our facebok page photo albums we have one album set up for each constituency with pictures of each MLA who signed that pledge. Please share and tag your MLA to remind them of their signed pledge to heart families.  You can see the albums at

This Christmas we need our MLA’s to deliver for heart children!


ChristmasCrackers x3F

Talking Teen’s

Monday, December 22nd, 2014


The Department Of Health have scheduled a consultation meeting with teenagers that have  heart disease on;

Saturday 10th January 2015 from 11.30am – 12.30pm at The Pavillion, Stormont.

This meeting will give teenagers between 11-16years old an opportunity to input into the future cardiac care and cardiac services for young people with heart disease in Northern Ireland.

We will follow the meeting by treating you to lunch nearby and planning our next day out! If you are interested in joining us, please contact Cathy on:  07436589480 / or Sarah on: 07584164815 /

Look forward to seeing you all in the New Year!


Friday, December 12th, 2014

ChristmasCrackers x2F (1)         Infographic


We want you to share the campaign and our crackers with all your friends and family to help us raise awareness, and we have made it really easy!  Above is an infographic for you to share on facebook and twitter!


Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

We have come up with Five Christmas Crackers we are asking heart families to do to help us continue to fight for a strong cardiology service in Belfast, after the news that children’s heart surgery will move to Dublin. We will reveal the five over the next 2 weeks, but below is Christmas Cracker no.1!

Send your local MLA’s a message about how important a strong cardiology service in Belfast is for your heart child and family. It’s really easy – go to and type in your postcode. This will bring you to a page where you can contact all your local representatives.

All you need to do is tell them

  • Who you are and about your heart child and family.
  • Say that the Department of Health are currently holding public consultation about the ‘Delivery of High Quality Congenital Cardiac Services’ that you expect your MLA’s to be engaging with and responding to this consultation as your representatives in Government.
  • Tell them that although children’s heart surgery will move to Dublin, it is crucial that a strong cardiology service is maintained and developed in Belfast, and across Northern Ireland.
  • Explain exactly how important a strong cardiology service in Clark Clinic and the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children is for your child’s ongoing care and treatment
  • Let them know that the cardiology service in Belfast must be invested in financially to ensure that children’s heart services in Northern Ireland are not weakened after losing surgery.
  • Finish off by highlighting that they need to support your family by calling for a specific Children’s Heart Centre, dedicated to providing world class heart services for local babies and children with heart disease.

ChristmasCrackers x1F