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Children's Heartbeat Trust launch 3 year strategy

Niamh with Brendan Scott and Maureen Coleman
9th December 2016
This article was written by a 6th Year Aquinas student who spent the day with MWA on work experience. 

Children’s Heartbeat Trust Strategic Plan

Niamh McCann 

Support, services, research and representing: these four words sum up Children’s Heartbeat Trust aims for the next three years. The charity supports families with children who are receiving treatment for congenital heart disease. 

An event took place today in The MAC in Belfast to launch the new Children’s Heartbeat Trust strategic plan for 2017-2020. The previous plan was a huge success, and it is hoped that by putting these new aims in place, it will further increase the awareness of the organisation. 

The event began with the chair of the company, Professor Nichola Rooney introducing the New Strategy Document, for which there are four main objectives. 

The first is Family support, and this has already been hugely important, as told by the first speaker at the event, Neal Buik. He told the story of the struggle that he and his wife went through during the period in which their son was in and out of hospital. You could have heard a pin drop in the room, as he praised the work of the staff of Evelina Hospital ever since Max was born in July 2014, right up until today. He described the Children’s Heartbeat Trust team as being like friends and family and even said that he didn't know if he and his family would have been able to get through the tough time without them. Everyone in the room became emotional as pictures of Max appeared on the screen behind him. However, you couldn't help but smile when young Max - who was at the MAC event -  laughed and clapped with his Mum sitting at the table beside him while his Dad addressed the audience.

The second strategic aim involves Youth services, which another speaker, Shane Maguire outlined, giving a different perspective on the charity. Being fifteen, he described how Children’s Heartbeat Trust allowed him to meet up with people of his own age, and share experiences with each other. They have been on various trips such as the Summer Blast. However, the importance of technology was evident , as Shane explained that the group keep on touch through social media, and even helped to create an app for the charity. However, this aim states that services are hoped to be increased for teenagers up to the age of eighteen.

The other aims for the new project are Research and Representing Heart Families. There is no doubt that both of these will be hugely developed in the upcoming three years. 

The event was brought to a close by the charity’s Chief Executive Sarah Quinlan who reinforced the social impact and direct beliefs that the charity has brought to not only children who have received help, but also their families. 

Actions speak louder than words, and the fact that eighty three free and confidential counselling sessions have been carried out in the past year says a lot.

Today was the beginning of the next three years, and there is no doubt in anyone's minds that it will be a huge success. 

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