The South West Thames Kidney Fund is a charity which supports research into important aspects of kidney disease, in particular its links with diabetes, with the objective of improving diagnosis, prognoses and palliative care for patients but, most importantly, ultimately finding cures.
Although the administrative offices are within the Institute for Renal Research at St Helier Hospital, the objectives of the Kidney Fund have no geographical boundaries, with prospective benefits not only nationally but worldwide.
The Kidney Fund is the brainchild of Dr Mike Bending, a former renal consultant, who, with massive support from patients and their family and frends, as well as fellow medical staff, raised sufficient funds by 1998 to open purpose -built research premises for the South West Thames Institute for Renal Research (SWTIRR), the only independent dedicated renal research institute in Britain.
Now semi-retired, Dr Bending continues as Chairman of the Kidney Fund, with an Executive Committee consisting of patients, their relatives, doctors and other interested people.
However, of most importance are the multitude of supporters that have enabled the Kidney Fund to raise such substantial sums. With very low administrative costs, nearly all the money raised goes towards research. In the last 5 financial years, £1.3 million has gone towards the research.
Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, the Kidney Fund is able to provide the majority of the financial support required to keep the SWTIRR operating successfully. The SWTIRR itself is a Company Limited by Guarantee whose governance is closely monitored by the Kidney Fund which has a Quinquennial Review Panel to examine the governance of the charity, the results of the Institute, its management and projected research. So that promising results with the prospect of commercial advantage might enable funds to be raised for future research, the SWTIRR has established Helier Scientific Ltd as its trading arm.
The Kidney Fund is a member of the AMRC (Association of Medical Research Charities). All AMRC members support the AMRC position statement on the use of animals in research, including the replacement, reduction and refinement of the use of animals in research.
In 2011 the Kidney Fund awarded its 6th Clinical Research Fellowship.