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BHF unveils strategy to deal with Covid-19 hit


The charity is set to cut up to 300 roles and has announced several changes to its directorate

Up to 300 jobs could go at a leading health charity, with three leading experts headed out the door.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has set-out proposals to protect its life-saving work in response to a devastating fall in income caused by the coronavirus crisis.

The charity says it will create a new structure that draws on its 60 years of expertise in funding ground-breaking research that saves and improves lives. It will also unify its marketing and fundraising activities behind a strategy to build long-term relationships with people affected by heart and circulatory diseases to raise funds and give people the vital support they need.

The changes will see the BHF’s medical and healthcare innovation directorates merge into a single team to be led by medical director, Professor Sir Nilesh Samani. The team will oversee the BHF’s world-leading research programme and will develop life-changing advocacy campaigns and support services for people with heart and circulatory diseases.

The charity will also create a team, led by a new executive director, that will build on work already underway to integrate the BHF’s fundraising, engagement and marketing activities. The move builds on the charity’s strategy to 2030 and will put patients at the heart of its work to inspire support for the BHF’s life saving research.

A consultation on how the plans will be implemented has been launched. The charity says it expects to lose around 300 roles but hopes that up to half of this number will be met by current vacancies.

In July, the BHF said its net income is likely to fall by 50% this financial year due to the temporary closure of its shops and cancellation of many of its fundraising events. It now anticipates having to cut its budget for new research by around £50 million this year.

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, chief Executive of the BHF, said: “The coronavirus crisis is the biggest challenge we’ve faced in our 60-year history, and our dedicated teams have left no stone unturned in trying to fight it. But we need to take bold steps to protect our life-saving work.

“Such a challenge brings into sharp focus the core of who we are as an organisation. The changes we’re making will accelerate work that’s already underway and will protect and prioritise our ability to fund world-leading cardiovascular research. The action we’re taking should give confidence to our colleagues, supporters and beneficiaries that we will maximise every aspect of what we do in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives, and that we will thrive as the nation’s heart charity despite the challenges ahead.

“We know this announcement comes at a difficult time for our talented BHF team. Whilst the decisions affecting my executive team have been taken, the implications for the rest of the organisation and the two new Directorates are still to be agreed and initial proposals for how this might look will form part of the collective consultation.”

The BHF will move from eight directorates to six, and three BHF executive directors – Amanda Bringans, Carolan Davidge and Jacob West – have decided to leave the charity to pursue new opportunities.

Dr Griffiths added: “The BHF’s continued reputation as one of the UK’s best-loved charities with the needs of patients at its core is testament to the transformational leadership that Amanda, Carolan and Jacob have shown.

“Carolan has put life saving research at the heart of the BHF brand, while Amanda has navigated a tough financial climate to come up with some of the sector’s most innovative fundraising products. Jacob has put patient voices at the heart of our decision making and ensured their needs don’t go unheard by the Government and NHS. Their leadership, and the incredible teams they’ve built, means we take on the challenges ahead from a position of strength. On behalf of everyone connected to the BHF, and the seven million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases, I’d like to thank Amanda, Carolan and Jacob for their immense contribution and the legacy they will leave.”



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