Heart Link was originallystarted as a support group for parents and families who had a child suffering from a heart defect. Families then, as now, wanted to meet and talk to others in a similar situation. The first meetings were well attended and supported by members of the hospital staff who recognized the need for such a group.
We consider it essential to maintain the support side for parents. We hold weekly "Coffee Evenings" at 8-00pm every Tuesday & 5.30 - 7pm Friday in the Heart Link Office which is situated in the Play Room, directly off the Children's Ward. This is a chance for anyone to come and join us and talk to committee members, who themselves have a child with a heart defect.
Committee members are always available if a parent would like to talk to someone. The Ward staff will contact us at anytime if anyone asks them to.
We operate a 24 hour Freephone Helpline No 0500 382152
We produce a quarterly Newsletter which is circulated to all our members. We are always pleased to hear from our members and gladly print their stories and letters, as we know other families in similar situations like to read them.
We organise an annual day trip with discounted entry for our family members to places like Twycross Zoo, Wicksteed Park and Twin Lakes Theme Park. This has proved to be a good day out (though we don't always get the weather right!) It is a chance for everyone to socialise and catch up with others they may have met through hospital or out-patient visits.
For our young members we hold an annual Teddy Bears Picnic in August. This has now developed into a major event with fairground rides; Donkey rides; B.B.Q; Ice cream man; face painters; clowns and anything else we can think of to make it a day to remember. The fact that it usually rains is irrelevant to all those who regularly attend!
Realising that our "young" patients are perhaps outgrowing picnics and Santa we have been happy to fund various trips and activities aimed at the older (over 12') members who, because of their heart defects, do not always find it easy to join in with their peers. These have included trips to the London Eye; London theatres; Bowling; Laser Quest; Horse Riding and Theme Parks. We are indebted to the members of staff from the Children's Ward who have organised these trips and accompanied them. We hear from the youngsters just how much they have enjoyed and benefited from these opportunities.