Caring for Someone?

Whether you care for someone born with a heart condition, or are someone born with a heart condition that cares for someone else, it is essential to look after yourself too.

However much you might want to help, caring responsibilities can be tiring, stressful and take an emotional toll.

Today, an estimated one in eight UK adults are carers. With many not formally recognised or supported. So you are not alone. And it is always okay to ask for help, find out what you are entitled to, and to get as much support as possible.

At The Somerville Foundation, we’re here to help you access this advice, guidance and financial assistance. And, whether you engage with our community every day, or just the once, you know we are here. Just in case you need us.

Ways into Relaxation

Learning how to relax is particularly helpful for carers.


We build lasting friendships  

Across the year we organise a number of social events and conferences. These events can be a great opportunity to meet with other carers for people born with a heart condition, share experiences, get support and make friends.


Join The Somerville Foundation private group on Facebook to chat with other young people and adults born with a heart condition.


upcoming events

Find out what’s happening near you.


online support

Discover online communities and connect with like-minded people.


Find out what you are entitled to as a carer and get as much support as possible.
Carers UK is an organisation that offers a wealth of information on all aspects of caring including for people.

  • Information on the different aspects of caring
  • Practical advice for in the home such as aids and adaptations
  • Help with care and respite
  • Help with money and information on benefits such as Carers Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance
  • Contact details for local carer groups that meet and offer practical advice and support in your area
  • Online support forum and advice line

Coping with tough times?

We all need support now and again. Here are some ideas to help you to support yourself through those times:

  • Phone a friend. It’s good to share. Try not to bottle things up. Talk to a sympathetic friend, family member, teacher, counsellor, or phone our free heart helpline on 0800 854 759.
  • It helps to talk to others who have had similar experiences. Go online, blog, get support from The Somerville Foundation Message Board, join us on Facebook and come to our events.
  • Do things you enjoy and help you to feel better. Listen to your favourite music, dance, watch TV or DVD’s, play computer games, read, go for a walk, hug a tree, stroke the dog, go out.   
  • Express yourself. Write it down, start a journal, write a poem or a song, scribble, paint, draw or dance. Don’t worry about artistic merit; it’s about ‘getting it out’.
  • Be prepared. If you know that there are times when you might feel down, angry, upset, tense, it can be useful to write a list of things that you can do and people you can call.
  • Make a ‘comfort box’ or scrapbook for yourself and put in photos, images, sayings, chocolate, a cuddly toy. Anything that you can focus on when the going gets tough.
  • Do things to help you de-stress. Relax in a warm bath, imagine yourself in a safe and comforting place, look at something peaceful or beautiful. When you feel anxious or panicky, it can help to practice calm breathing and relaxation techniques.
  • Remind yourself that feelings do pass and change over time, so hold in there and focus on getting through the day. Sit it out, wrap up in a duvet, sleep.
  • Avoid using drugs and alcohol when emotional. These can intensify feelings, affect your judgement and may lead you to feel worse.
  • Give yourself a break. Sometimes we can be hard on ourselves, expect too much or overdo it. It’s usual to have ups and downs in mood in response to what is happening in our lives. Treat yourself with kindness.

Other ways to get help.

Here are some other organisations and groups that offer advice and support to carers.

  • Mind the Gap Northern Ireland. Assists 1,500 carers (aged 60+) in Northern Ireland (through existing service provision channels, and by identifying gaps in services) to have an improved quality of life through better access to advice on benefits and services
  • Carers Trust. Carers Trust believes in a world where the role and contribution of unpaid carers is recognised and they have access to the quality support and services they need to live their own lives
  • Disabled Living Foundation (DLF). DLF is a national charity providing impartial advice, information and training on independent living
  • Contact a Family. Information and advice on any aspect of caring for a disabled child.

How can you help us?


With your help, we’ve helped fund new and improved treatments for congenital heart disease. we opened the UK’s first dedicated Congenital Heart Research Centre. we’ve organised receptions at the House of Lords and House of Commons, a film première, concerts, parachute jumps, marathon runs, annual sponsored walks and masquerade balls. we ensure that adult CHD patients enjoy access to every opportunity, are free from discrimination, and are fully supported throughout their lives. we’ve staged annual conferences, regional patient information days and workshops throughout the UK. we’ve published a range of leaflets for CHD patients on a wide-range of topics. we’ve launched a Freephone patient helpline to provide practical advice, a listening ear, and emotional reassurance at times of stress. we’ve created online networks where congenital heart patients can connect with each other. we successfully applied for a Comic Relief grant to help develop mental health support services. we’ve contributed to adult congenital heart disease nurse training days and taken part in various study days and conferences for medical and health professionals. we’ve established a benevolent fund for members who are in financial hardship. we’ve organised residential weekends and outward bound holidays for teenagers and adults, providing congenital heart patients with the opportunity to meet and gain support from each other.

Just think what else we could do if you donate, fundraise or volunteer for us.


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