Skip to content
Accessibility Sitemap Search

The UK's national charity for working parents and carers

Members log in

Don’t miss out!

Sign up for free resources, exclusive events and the latest updates for employers, line managers and HR professionals.

Case study library

  • Welcome to our employer case study library

    The case studies are free to access. To help keep the library relevant and useful, please provide a few details. By entering your data, you agree that your information will be processed in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Alternatively, if you are a Working Familes member, please log in for immediate access.

    Members Log-in

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
    Do not fill this in

Published: 26 Jun 2024

British Heart Foundation – Finalist 2024, Best Family Network sponsored by BlckBx

The British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) Parent and Carer Affinity Group is open to parents at all stages on the journey, as well as guardians and carers, with a focus on empowerment and bettering the lives of members. 

Peer support 

The network meets monthly at different times and meetings are recorded to promote inclusivity. First and foremost, it acts as a source of support and provides a forum for building connections so that parents and carers can share challenges and successes. A Teams channel has stage-specific support groups so members can reach out to those in similar circumstances, especially useful through periods of transition. Specialist talks raise awareness and offer tailored support, and ‘From the group to the group’ sessions signpost parents who have specific concerns.  

The network strives to find new ways to engage and support working parent members, for example through promoting activities for school holidays and inviting a children’s author to help celebrate diversity and equality. Articles on how to support people with children during times of conflict, for example how to talk to your child about the war in Ukraine were posted in company-wide communication channels. The network welcomes input from members and has developed a committee group which has a drop-in where parents can share ideas and opportunities to support the group.  

Family-friendly working 

The Affinity Group is promoted at induction, and expectant parents are signposted by HR. A dedicated intranet page details how to get involved. The network ensures that all relevant policies and information related to being a parent at BHF can be accessed in one place. Group coaching sessions run by professionals aim to improve the lives of employees and their families, for example ‘Managing Family Mental Wellbeing’ and ‘Balancing work and school days effectively’. These have had 100% uptake and received very positive feedback. The network also provides opportunities for external training and education to help members develop professionally. Co-chairs are recognised through personal development goals, and the budgets available enable change and solidifies the message that Senior Leaders support the network’s aims.  

Driving change 

A central role of the network is to support the evolution of the organisation and actively look for opportunities to influence policy. In response to the school strikes in 2023, the Affinity Group highlighted the need for additional support during unexpected events and worked with the organisation to develop an Unplanned Leave Policy, which allows up to 15 days on full pay for when flexible working is not suitable, helping to protect annual leave and support wellbeing. They were also influential in achieving an enhanced paternity, fostering, adoption leave to 12 weeks full pay, which has been positively received by families.  The network optimises cross-organisational connections to carry out benefit comparisons and continuously challenge themselves to raise the bar.