What is The Somerville Heart Foundation?

The Somerville Foundation is the only UK-wide charity supporting adults and young people as they transfer to adult services, with all forms of Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD).

It is estimated there are over 250,000 people who have survived into adulthood, with now more adults with the condition than children as around 85% now survive as opposed to 15% during the 1950s and 1960s.

We are here to provide many of their non-medical and psychological needs so they can lead as fulfilled lives as possible, as well as fighting to make sure the health services are there for their physical needs.

We are reliant on donations to carry on doing this and need people to help us by Getting Involved.

We aim to:

Provide accurate information and advice to allow those with ACHD to take informed decisions, become expert patients, grasp opportunities, and consider life-style choices

Combat the isolation felt by so many along with helping allay their anxieties and fears as well as those of their families

Fight discrimination and ignorance through campaigning, educating and promoting the rights and needs of those with ACHD

Help those with ACHD to share experiences and thoughts of others in the same position as them and to enable the provision of mutual support.

But we can’t do it alone. In order to ensure they enjoy access to every opportunity, are free from discrimination, and are fully supported throughout their lives, we need your help.

How We’re Changing Lives.

Our Services

These include:

  • Advocacy and peer support
  • Social community groups
  • Access to wellbeing counseling
  • Employment law specialist
  • Life and travel insurance and brokers
  • Financial support
  • Annual Conference
  • Regular Online events, webinars & meet ups
  • Quarterly ACHD newsletter

and much, much more!

Support for Our Community

Our community is all those who are affected by or work in the realm of Adult Congenital Disease (ACHD). Those that have ACHD, their family and friends, the clinicians that care for them and those that are involved in the provision of the care services.

We try to work closely with the clinicians and those involved in the provision of the care services, but much of our work is focused on those with ACHD, their families and friends. In that way we are not only providing support to them but also to the clinicians as they have access to support materials through us to enable them to support those they see better.

The support includes:

  • Information Pages including FAQs
  • Specialist Centres
  • Facebook Closed Groups
  • Helpline
  • Support Fund
  • Coaguchek
  • Insurance
  • Emotional and Mental Well Being
  • On-Line Meetings and Webinars
  • GUCH News

Our History

We have been supporting patients since 1993

  • Started with the name the Grown Up Congenital Heart Patients Association
  • Founded by Dr Jane Somerville (now Professor Jane Somerville)
  • Initial funding obtained from the British Heart Foundation in 1993
  • Registered as a charity in 1994 to enable congenital heart patients to help and support each other
  • Renamed The Somerville Foundation in 2012.

Our Impact

The UK’s Only charity dedicated to supporting congenital heart patients. Congenital heart defects (CHD) affects thousands of adults living in the UK today. Fortunately, thanks to our research and support, CHD patients are not only surviving into adulthood, they are also thriving. We provide the ACHD community with the following services:

  • A national support network & good relationships with Specialists Centres and medical professionals
  • A wealth of help and advice for members
  • Financial support, such as grants through our hardship and covid funds for coaguchek machines, etc
  • Campaigning for better services & support
  • Research that saves lives
  • Webinars, meet ups & conferences
  • Closed social network groups for peer to peer support

Here are just some of the ways we’re helping to change lives for the better

  • In partnership with the University of Suffolk, established the UK’s first dedicated Congenital Heart Research Centre.
  • Launched a Freephone patient helpline to provide practical advice, a listening ear, and emotional reassurance at times of stress.
  • Published a range of leaflets for CHD patients on topics such as lifestyle, travel insurance, and pregnancy which are distributed to the Specialist Centres.
  • Produced a pocket-sized ‘personal health passport’. Useful for keeping all the information you need to know about your condition in one place.
  • Publish a quarterly newsletter, written for, and by, adult CHD patients. Subscribers include members, supporters and medical, healthcare and social care professionals.
  • Developed and regularly update an online resource centre (this website!) and online forums where congenital heart patients can connect with each other. 
  • Established a benevolent fund for CHD patients in financial hardship.
  • Organise events for young people and adults. Providing CHD patients with the opportunity to meet and gain support from each other.
  • Hold annual conferences, regional patient information days and workshops throughout the UK.
  • Contribute to adult CHD nurse training days and taken part in various study days and conferences for medical and health professionals, including the bi-annual EuroHeart conferences.
  • Organising various social, publicity and fundraising events. These include receptions at the  House of Commons, film premières, concerts, parachute jumps, marathon runs, annual sponsored walks, cycle races and masquerade balls.

Our Partners

Our corporate partners are making a real difference to adult CHD patients.

The valuable work we carry out wouldn’t be possible without the help and support of our corporate partners.


So, if you have decided to show your support to the Somerville Foundation, thank you.

Our corporate partners make it easier for adult CHD patients to:

  • Enjoy access to every opportunity
  • Be free from discrimination
  • Be fully supported throughout their lives.

Because we know that every company is different – each of our partnerships is too. Find out how we can help to develop the right partnership for your business. Visit our corporate fundraising page to see how your business can help. Get in touch with us by filling out our online form to tailor your partnership and discuss your project and opportunities.

Investing in Volunteers

At The Somerville Foundation, we value our volunteers and ensure we provide a rewarding volunteer experience as well as an opportunity, for those who have benefitted from our support, and choose ‘to give something back’. But you don’t need to be a CHD patient to volunteer, we are always looking for people who are keen to support our work to get involved

Find out more about volunteering with us


With your help, we opened the UK’s first dedicated Congenital Heart Research Centre.

The Somerville Foundation has always worked hard to improve the lives of people who were born with a heart condition. However much more needs to be done; especially when it comes to research.

That’s why, with your help, The Somerville Foundation, in partnership with the University of Suffolk, opened the UK’s first dedicated congenital heart research centre.

The first centre of its kind in the UK, and part of only a handful worldwide, is a state-of-the-art facility.

Combining the University’s expertise in cardiovascular science, exercise physiology, and psychology, and our expertise in supporting people with CHD, the centre focuses on finding more effective ways to treat and support CHD patients. But more still needs to be done.

Today, too many congenital heart defect patients are dying prematurely and living restricted, and in some cases unhappy lives. We are a long way from having all the answers.

So, make a donation today and help us carry on our valuable work.

Where your money goes

  • Grants to researchers, cardiologists, medics and academics seeking more effective ways to treat and support CHD patients
  • Grants to those seeking new ways to improve the mental health of CHD patients
  • Raising awareness of the needs of CHD patients and in particular the need for good quality research
    Programs and services based upon good practice identified through research
  • And more!
 Exceptional researchers doing exceptional work.

The Somerville Foundation has always worked hard to improve the lives of people who were born with a heart condition. Below you will see just some of the ways even the smallest donation is helping us to make a big impact. But much more needs to be done. So, if you want to do something remarkable and help us make a difference, get involved today.

With your help The Somerville Foundation has

  • Given grants to researchers, cardiologists, medics and academics to find more effective ways to treat and support CHD patients
  • Provided grants to those seeking to find ways to improve the mental health of CHD patients
  • Raised awareness of the needs of CHD patients and, in particular, the need for good quality research
  • Established the UK’s first dedicated Congenital Heart Research Centre in partnership with the University of Suffolk
  • Launched programs and services based upon good practice identified through research.

How can you help us?

By donating, joining us, or getting involved, you help the CHD community grow! You also help us with our vision to create a society where those born with a heart condition receive the support and medical care they need to lead longer, happier and healthier lives.

Make a Donation

Your donation no matter the size or frequency, helps us to continue our vital work for adults and young people born with CHD. Our charity relies on your donations to do all the things that we do!

Join Us

Join our family and get access to fantastic information and guidance through online support and counselling on lifestyle issues, travel, keeping a healthy body and mind and much more!

Get Involved

Do something remarkable and help us make a difference. Just think what else we could do if you (or your company) campaignfundraise or volunteer for us. You can even play our lottery and raise money at the same time!

© Copyright 2021 – The Somerville Foundation 2021. The Somerville Foundation is a registered charity in England and Wales No. 1138088 and a registered charity in Scotland No. SC049673. The Somerville Foundation is a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in England and Wales No. 07285409. Registered office at 7 Friars Courtyard, 30-32, Princes Street, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 1RJ. Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions