Children's charities join forces

Tim and Elvie

Life-changing health research

Children’s medical research charity Sparks has announced today (Monday 23 January 2017) that it will be joining Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity in a partnership, which will result in an increase in funding for pioneering and life-changing child health research.

From 1 February 2017, Sparks will join Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, in a move supported by the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and the Institute of Fundraising (IoF).

Elvira Morrison, Acting CEO of Sparks said: “In 2016 we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Sparks and all that we had achieved, but we also wanted to look to the future.

“Paediatric research is severely underfunded, yet there are still large gaps in our understanding of children’s conditions. We have huge ambitions to unlock the breakthroughs in children’s medicine that families need, from discovery through to treatment and cure.

“We approached Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity to explore a partnership. As a children’s charity with a strong reputation for funding national research, it felt like the natural home for Sparks.

“Together we can fund even more pioneering, national, research and we’re looking forward to this exciting next phase for Sparks.”

Big breakthroughs

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity funds research at both the hospital and in research institutions right across the country. The charity launched an ambitious research strategy last year and is committed to investing in unlocking the big breakthroughs of the future for rare and complex childhood conditions.

Tim Johnson, Chief Executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity said: “For many sick children, research into new treatments is their only hope. Yet research into diseases affecting children is currently woefully underfunded, receiving only five per cent of public and charitable research funding each year.

“We look forward to welcoming Sparks into the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity family, together we will be able to fund more work to discover vital treatments for children - now and in the future.”

Aisling Burnand MBE, Chief Executive of the AMRC (Association of Medical Research Charities) said: “The role played by charities in advancing medical research is vital. It is incredibly encouraging to see two strong and innovative charities share their resources to maximise what they can do for children with illnesses. By collaborating to meet the same aims GOSH Children’s Charity and Sparks will be able to speed up discovery to help more children.”

Peter Lewis, Chief Executive of the Institute of Fundraising “It’s a positive development to see two well-respected and complementary organisations exploring how they can do more by working together. Collaboration across the sector should be welcomed where there is a natural fit and the decision by Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and Sparks to embark on a formal new partnership that will result in increased funding for research is only to be encouraged. It also makes sense for the charities’ donors and supporters to see a joined up approach and offers exciting new fundraising opportunities to raise more money that will fund life-changing research.”

About the partnership

The new partnership will start from February 1st 2017. Under the new arrangement Sparks will join Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity as a subsidiary, whilst retaining its own external brand identity and charity number. Sparks’ research programme and fundraising activities will continue under the Sparks name and Sparks will continue to fundraise exclusively for child health research and support projects nationwide. Sparks will operate from the offices of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity on Bernard Street, WC1.

For further information, you can contact the Sparks Press Office on  07584 706 073 or Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity Press Office on 020 7239 3125.