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Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity – About us

Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity – About us


We’re an independent place-based foundation in two boroughs of London, Lambeth and Southwark, and what we exist to do is to improve people’s health. Lambeth and Southwark has a lot in common with other parts of inner-city London. It’s quite densely populated and has a very rich and diverse and vibrant community. The major challenges that we face are around cardiovascular disease serious mental illness, sexual health lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes, child obesity, and also multiple long-term conditions. Context is incredibly important. People are often struggling to make ends meet. It’s not prioritised in their lives to think about their health and well-being. It’s much more of a priority to be able to pick the kids up from school and to be able to pay the bills at the end of the month. The advantage of being a place-based foundation is that we can work with everybody in that geography and add stuff up so it becomes more than the sum of its parts. We can only be successful by working in real partnership with the communities, experts, healthcare professionals and then that much broader universe of businesses and social enterprises and charities, not just around the UK but internationally as well. And we do that in a number of ways – one of them is supporting Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust to be an absolute world leader in the provision of health and health care. As we move into an era of even greater financial austerity, we’re going to need the help of organisations like Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity to allow us to think much more innovatively and creatively. One of the fantastic things that the Charity does is bring great minds and energy to particular issues and it’s really made a difference. Heart failure is a leading cause of death in Southwark and Lambeth. Patients that we see very rarely come with just heart failure. We often have patients with diabetes and lung disease. The heart failure service is very proactive in making sure the patient is taken care of as a whole. The support from the Charity has made a big difference to the care that we’re able to deliver. If we were to stay doing what we were doing, we would get the same results. We’ve been able to create seamless care for our heart failure patients, from the hospital team out to the community team. We feel it could save up to 80 lives and 3,000 bed days per year – that’s significant. Pop up Parks is a very energetic, very vibrant programme. We will rapidly transform a space in pockets of deprivation, in densely populated areas to encourage children and their families to be more playful, creative and most importantly physically active outside of the home. Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity has been fantastic. It seeded the idea, it’s really enabled the organisation to be courageous, to really experiment, to investigate and explore a solution. The impact demonstrated that kids increased the time spent doing energetic physical activity by over half an hour a week. Seeing that transformation is hugely exciting. What we’re doing at the moment is focusing down on a small number of issues and then trying to bring all the firepower that we have to bear, both our own and that of our partners. We are doing something really exciting it and that is trying to understand what sits behind the health challenges of urban, deprived and diverse areas, and I believe there are a lots of other people out there trying to tackle the same issues. We’re ready for the next big idea.

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