Heidi Watson joined Children’s Heart Surgery Fund as CEO on Monday July 11, replacing Sharon Milner who lead the charity for 16 years.
Heidi has 20 years of Director and CEO level experience.
This began in the private sector, where she was running projects with social outcomes, but for the last 13 years she has worked purely as a Charity Sector leader.
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Throughout her career, Heidi has led projects and organisations which support both adults and children facing a range of circumstances which have made them vulnerable or socially excluded.
Her role prior to joining CHSF was Director of Services with SHINE, supporting people affected by spina bifida and hydrocephalus across England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as their families.
Speaking to the YEP, Heidi said: “I am delighted to have joined Children’s Heart Surgery Fund as CEO.
"It’s a wonderful thing to know that the charity I now lead, saves lives every day, by supporting the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit (LCHU), a world-class centre of excellence.
"Your donations will continue to ensure they have talented, well-trained staff and the latest equipment to detect congenital heart disease and perform life-saving surgery.
CHSF funds the facilities, equipment, training and roles, which the NHS cannot provide - thanks to your fundraising.
"This enables the LCHU to optimally treat the 17,000 babies, children and adults with congenital heart disease which pass through the unit every year. In addition, our Support Workers are there for families facing the emotional roller-coaster of watching their babies and children go through surgeries and treatments.
"The accommodation, financial and emotional support we provide ensures that parents can be there for their children, day and night, and we can be there for the whole family."
Since CHSF was established in 1988 it has awarded over £10 million in grants to the LCHU, its patients and their families, as well as funding important research proposals.
"I look forward to leading this charity into the next stage of its development", Heidi added.
"My aim is to increase our annual fundraising year on year to enable us to offer more support than ever, extend our connection with all the families and adults across Yorkshire, North East Lincolnshire and the Humber affected by congenital heart disease and expand our Support Worker service so that we can be there for patients attending the LCHU, whatever the stage in their journey to health.”
“I am grateful to each and every one of you who contribute to our fundraising efforts, we could not do what we do every year without you and we make every £1 that you raise count.
“I wanted to take this opportunity to also thank all of the wonderful Corporate Donors, and Trust and Foundation Funders who have supported Children’s Heart Surgery Fund over the years.
"I am really looking forward to working with you all going forward and ensuring that you get to experience with us, the huge impact which your donations make towards saving the lives of babies, children and adults.
"Together, we can give them the chance of experiencing all that life has to offer.”
To find out more about CHSF, donate or get involved visit chsf.org.uk.