Leeds, West Yorkshire
£25,000 per year
Permanent, Full-time
Job description

Children’s Heart Surgery Fund - Charity 







Title of post:                      Family Support Worker

Hours:                                37 hours

Location:                            Leeds

Reporting to                       CEO

Salary                                 £25k

Interview date                     Monday 16th March 

Apply with covering letter and CV - deadline to apply Monday 2nd March.  




The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund


The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF) is an award-winning regional charity supporting children and adults, and their families, born with congenital heart defects across Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. 


The charity was established in 1988 to support the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit at Leeds Children’s Hospital, which treats more than 20,000 patients each year. The Charity supports the Leeds Congenital Heart service by providing the funding and resources to support: 


• The Heart, by providing revolutionary medical equipment and funding training for the medical employees within the congenital heart service.

• The Mind, by creating a restful environment on the wards and funding play and distraction equipment.

• The Family, by contributing towards living expenses, offering accommodation to parents and giving exceptional grants.

• The Future, by funding research, clinical posts and projects.




The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund was created in 1988 by Duncan Walker, then a heart surgeon at the old Killingbeck Hospital in Leeds. Thanks to his fundraising efforts, in 1990 Duncan was given the accolade of Yorkshireman of the Year. Since 1988, CHSF has awarded around £3 million in grants to the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit, its patients and their families.


There are many vital grants – both large and small – within CHSF’s work, and one of the most important was the award of almost £250,000 between 1999 and 2002 donated to Leeds University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. The initial grant was grown into much greater funding and helped established a project that led to the creation of a York-based company called Tissue Regenix. This organisation are now leaders in the development of medical devices, including replacement heart valves.


Over recent years, CHSF has invested significant funding into family accommodation based near the Leeds Children’s Hospital. This has included £525,000 being awarded to the Sick Children’s Trust first to build and now maintain parental housing at Eckersley House.




CHSF campaigned against NHS proposals to end children’s heart surgery in Yorkshire – a move that would have meant the region’s young patients being relocated to Newcastle, Birmingham or Liverpool for heart surgery. After an extraordinary award-winning, a campaign that united the people of the region – including a 600,000-signature petition that was delivered to the Prime Minister – the NHS proposals were rejected by the Health Secretary in 2013.


CHSF has made countless grants that have paid for ground-breaking new equipment; resources for the unit; staff training; family accommodation and support; and, many, many more projects. This is thanks to the staff, trustees, supporters and fundraisers who have made this possible.


CHSF are proud of their record of impact against the charity’s main objective to help the region’s congenital heart patients and hopes to fulfil their aim which is to help support the Leeds Congenital Heart centre become a recognised ‘World Class’ centre of excellence. In 2018, CHSF’s latest appeal, keeping the Beat, successfully raised £700,000 towards a state-of-the-art children’s heart theatre.




Job Summary


The newly created role of Family Support Worker is designed to provide a dedicated resource for children, siblings and parents, offering practical and emotional support while they are in the hospital, and potentially beyond the period of the child’s hospital stay. 


The role objective is to bridge the gap between the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit and the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, ensuring wrap around care and support for the whole family unit. 


The Family Support Worker will deliver a programme of holistic care for families of children with congenital heart disease treated in the Congenital Heart Unit at Leeds Children’s Hospital. 


This new holistic care programme, including welcome packs, well-being treatments and family camps, is designed to increase wellbeing and reduce the stress on the whole family from the impact of a child having congenital heart disease.


The need for this role and holistic care programme bore out of collated research gathered directly from focus groups, workshops and direct feedback from a variety of people, including Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust clinical and non-clinical staff and parents of patients with congenital heart disease.


Key Responsibilities  


• To be a dedicated resource for children and their families, bridging the gap between Leeds Children’s Hospital and the CHSF

• To build trusting relationships with the children, siblings and parents on the ward and outside the hospital, through coffee mornings. 

• To provide practical help and emotional support for children and families, by signposting particularly during times of stress

• To work closely with clinical and nursing staff at Leeds Children’s Hospital, developing positive working relationships

• To facilitate clear communications between families and clinical and nursing staff

• To plan, deliver and assess an annual holistic care programme for children and families

• To identify the needs of children and families and develop new work or initiatives to meet these needs

• To create and provide welcome packs to families

• To help families access support from the CHSF and other agencies and services

• To manage the delivery of group sessions by the Hospital’s Psychology and Counselling Service to help families overcome issues around coping with a baby suffering from congenital heart disease

• To manage the partnership with, and delivery of, Over the Wall Family Weekend Camps for children with serious health challenges

• To manage and work in delivering holistic support for families, focusing on wellbeing, and complementary therapies.

• To organise leisure and other vouchers for long-term inpatients and their families.

• To run and manage focused events for families such as coffee mornings in regional areas of Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire

• To manage the charities parental accommodation, ensuring all rooms are cared for

• To help promote CHSF fundraising opportunities, where appropriate and work with the community fundraising team on new initiatives 

• To manage grant applications which are currently run by the cardiac nurse specialist team to support families seeking financial assistance while their child is in hospital

• To help plan creative and innovative responses to families’ needs 

• To ensure that recording of work with children and families is maintained to a high standard, accurate and up to date

• To monitor, evaluate, and produce reports that demonstrate the effectiveness of the work.

• To work flexibly as required by the needs of the service and carry out any other reasonable duties as required 

• To engage further with the Child-Friendly Leeds initiative. 



General Responsibilities 


• Respond to complaints promptly, both external and internal

• To demonstrate a commitment to ongoing training and development and participate in any training needed to fulfil the duties of your role

• Promote and sustain a responsible attitude towards equal opportunity and diversity

• To ensure all communication is conducted under GDPR guidance 

• To keep accurate and comprehensive records through CHSF’s CRM system

• Play a key role within the senior management team and report to the CEO

• To be able to evidence CHSF values at all times

(a)   Trust

(b)  Compassion

(c)   Openness

(d)  Respect

(e)   Dedication  





Skills and abilities


·       Excellent skills, knowledge and aptitude for building and maintaining relationships with children, young people, parents, colleagues and partners

·       Ability to communicate with children and adults with compassion and empathy 

·       Ability to exercise discretion and confidentiality

·       understanding of the developmental needs of children and young people

·       Excellent verbal and written communication skills in formal and informal settings - face-to-face, on the telephone and informal presentations

·       Excellent organisational skills with a high level of attention to detail 

·       Ability to work on own initiative and to effectively manage and prioritise workload

·       Ability to write comprehensive evidence-based reports

·       Highly professional with a self-motivated approach and drive to support

·       Influencing skills

·       Good IT skill, word, excel, CRM experience

·       Project management skills 

·       Excellent relationship management skills 





• Relevant childcare, education, social care or health qualification to NVQ Level 3 or equivalent or considerable experience. 

• Training in community work, counselling skills, or similar advantage

• Thorough knowledge of relevant and up-to-date children’s legislation, particularly child protection and safeguarding 





• At least three years’ experience of direct work with children and young people up to 18 years of age, and their parents

• Able to set up and deliver programmes of family support work

• Knowledge and experience of direct work with families in the health sector an advantage

• Experience of working with people in their homes an advantage


Personal attributes and other requirements


• Ability to work hours in a flexible way, including evenings and weekends to meet the needs of the holistic care programme

• Ability to work flexibly and as part of a team

• Clean current driving licence and car needed 

• Commitment to training and continuous learning and professional development

This post is subject to a higher-level check with the Disclosure & Barring Service 

We want to hear from all interested candidates, and to be considered for the position we strongly recommend submitting a detailed covering letter along with your CV, outlining why you're right for the role.

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More about Children's Heart Surgery Fund
Children's Heart Surgery Fund

Established in 1988, Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF) is a charity providing support for children and adults born with Congenital Hea... Read more

Refreshed on: 22 February 2020
Closed date: 02 March 2020
Job ref: CHSF -FSW01
Tags: Support Worker