Michael Jenkins talks to Vascular News about the Circulation Foundation, outlining the history of the charity and giving an update on recent activities.
The history of the Circulation Foundation (CF) dates back to the original British Vascular Foundation, the function of which was fund raising for vascular causes. When the Vascular Surgical Society of Great Britain and Ireland changed names to The Vascular Society (VS) in 2004, the charity became more closely aligned and changed its name to the Circulation Foundation in 2006.
I took over the stewardship of the CF three years ago following a rocky patch for the charity with major changes to admin staff of the VS. As my term of office as chair comes to an end, I want to congratulate Rachel Bell who has been appointed as my successor together with Meryl Davies as deputy chair. Both are keen to develop the patient facing aspect of the CF, to continue the website improvements and bolster the charity and fund-raising aspects. I also want to thank all committee members and representatives from the SVN and SVT who have given their time and energy to the CF over the last three years, all on a voluntary basis.
With help from VS members (most of whom are now generous regular donors) the financial position of the CF is much improved. If any have yet to complete Gift Aid please consider this – forms will be available at the ASM in Manchester – as it provides a further important income stream. Donations also continue to come in from those who have run, cycled or swum in events throughout the year on behalf of the CF. Other ways anyone can help and promote the CF are by using the Savoo search engine, Amazon Smile (both organisations donate for free with no additional cost to users) and Just Giving (details below). These are excellent ways for patients, clinicians, colleagues and friends to help the CF by allowing small (but completely free) regular donations to add up.
Patient needs and expectations are not always easy to gauge and feedback from patient groups through lay members is vital to shape the direction of the information provided via the CF website. I am very pleased that our new lay member, Sara Pittack is incredibly keen, resourceful and energetic in her approach to the patient perspective. You will see that there are new “risk checkers” and patient blogs on the website, the feedback from which has been excellent. We have raised the profile of our social media presence and this is paying dividends in raising the profile of the website via search engines.
As well as funding various Research Fellows outright, we have recently joined forces with the Royal College of Surgeons of England to collaborate in joint funding of posts which I believe is the right direction for us, both in terms of governance and helping our precious funding streams to go further. We have also supported the new Lower limb ischaemia Quality Improvement Framework as we felt this was important to members and a new Fellow starts early next year to take this forward. Over the last few years we have brought the VS and CF closer together, both from an organisational perspective (sharing the same office staff) and financial perspective which leaves the charity in a much stronger position going forward. In recognition of these stronger links and indeed the alliance between the VS, SVT and SVN, I am delighted to announce a series of small regular grants which will be available for finite projects and accessible to members from all three societies. Please see the website for details.
Finally, I want to give thanks for the support and generous donations from our patrons and major benefactors. George Davies continues to remain involved and interested in all aspects of both the Foundation and things vascular in general and gives valuable time from his busy schedule to meet, advise and hear about our latest projects, many of which he has funded. I am very pleased that Professor Roger Greenhalgh has agreed to be a Patron and continue his interest in the CF. He was a Founding Patron of the original British Vascular Foundation prior to the re-launch of the new charity – the Circulation Foundation in 2006 and it is fitting that we now renew this relationship.
Text CIRC10 £5 to 70070 to donate to the Circulation Foundation and make a difference today
www.savoo.co.uk – sign up and nominate the CF to ensure that 1p goes to the CF for every internet search you perform. Repeat on your mobile, tablet and home computer and tell family and friends.
www.smile.amazon.co.uk – sign up and nominate the CF. 0.5% of the purchase price of anything you buy (excluding VAT and shipping) is then donated to the charity of your choice. Tell friends and colleagues!
Michael Jenkins is a consultant vascular surgeon at St Mary’s Hospital in London, UK and is chairman of the Circulation Foundation.