Heart Support Groups

People exercising - British Heart FoundationWe have nearly 300 affiliated Heart Support Groups bringing hope and a healthier lifestyle to thousands of patients and carers across England and Wales.

These groups are open to anyone with any kind of heart condition as well as their partners and families.

By patients, for patients

BACR Instructor - British Heart FoundationHeart Support Groups groups are as varied as the people in them.

Some are large organisations offering a weekly programme of activities, while others are much smaller and meet once a month.

They offer the chance to share experiences in a friendly and mutually supportive environment, and provide a wide range of other benefits and activities for their members.

As soon as you walk into one of our meetings, all you hear is laughter.

We've all got the same problems - that's what brought us together - but we all have an incredibly positive outlook. That's what keeps people coming back.

These could include:

  • exercise sessions with qualified instructors
  • walking, cycling and swimming groups
  • coffee mornings and other social events
  • evenings with guest speakers 
  • links to other services such as quitting smoking 
  • hospital visiting
  • yoga and relaxation classes, and
  • visits to places of interest.  

Where is my nearest group?

To find your nearest group in England or Wales take a look at our online map. You can also call the Heart Helpline on 0300 330 3311 (similar cost to 01 and 02 numbers) or email us.

If you live in Scotland, please contact Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland on 0131 225 6963.

If you live in Northern Ireland, please contact Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke on 028 9032 0184.  You can also contact the Northern Ireland Cardiac Services Network for details of their groups.

Top 10 reasons to join a heart support group
Ever wondered what it's like to be part of a heart support group? Our video shows people from three heart support groups talking to us about why they decided to join a group, the best thing about being part of a group, and what you can expect from joining your local heart support group.

How can I set up a new Heart Support Group?

Order the Heart Support Group toolkit and you'll find the Getting going and keeping going booklet, our step-by-step guide that runs you through everything you need to know to get your group off the ground.

To order the toolkit just call 0870 600 6566 and quote publication code HSG, or visit our publications page.

How can I get an existing group affiliated?

Any group can affiliate and the process is straightforward and free. The benefits include:

  • Access to a £500 start-up grant for new groups
  • Free public liability insurance
  • Access to BHF resources
  • Help with recruitment and publicity
  • Opportunities to attend support group events and network
    • Find out how we collaborated with other charities and the NHS to help support groups at a local Learn and Share Event

If you'd like to talk to someone about getting your group affiliated call our Heart Helpline on 0300 330 3311.

When your group is ready to become affiliated, you'll need to register to create an account and then you're all set to apply for affiliation. You may wish to read the Terms and Conditions for Affiliation and the Start Up Grant for your information.

Affiliate to the BHF

 

Get help and support for your group

We have a series of helpful factsheets for you to download:

  • Support for your group is a guide to services and resources that can help you find new ways to help your members.
  • Getting your message across is packed full of ideas to help you bring new people into your group and get you noticed in your local community.
  • Finding the funding you need provides information about what to do and where to look for the financial support for your Heart Support Group.
  • Our Travel Insurance factsheet provides a list of suggested insurance companies for heart patients. 

We also have a brand new poster for groups to advertise their activities in their local area. The poster can be displayed in GP centres, hospitals and BHF Shops.