A brief history

1963 A lady called Gertrude Swithenbank (herself a colostomate) is approached by a Registrar within her hospital, asking if she would be interested in making regular visits to other colostomy patients.

Gertrude’s visits encourage patients' recovery as they realise she is leading an active life.

Conversations between Frances Goodall (who was the then General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, and who later became Vice-President) and Gertrude Swithenbank begin. From these conversations the idea of a National Service for Colostomates is born.

Frances Goodall takes up the torch and consults with surgeons, medical social workers and nurses.

1966 In 1966, the King Edwards Hospital Fund for London provides funds to conduct a pilot survey to find out if there is a need for a National Service for Colostomates, 29 London Hospitals take part.
1967 The surveys findings are published and as a result the Colostomy Welfare Group (CWG) is formed and becomes a registered charity. The charity is based at St. Luke’s Hospital, Chelsea.

Emily Brain, responsible for conducting the survey is appointed secretary and welfare officer. Barbara Saunders becomes the first trainer of Stoma Care Nurses at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital.

CWG’s Trust Deeds state the purpose of its service: ‘To relieve suffering by providing throughout Great Britain and Northern Ireland, a welfare service for patients who have had or are about to undergo colostomy surgery’.

1969 The service is free to all members, and every member receives an annual letter.
1972 The CWG move offices to Ecclestone Square, London and become an Associated Charity financed by the National Society for Cancer Relief (now known as Macmillan Cancer Relief).

The CWG expands with the help of a growing number of volunteers. The CWG extends support to the rest of the world and founds the International Ostomy Association.

1987 CWG establishes a network of area organisers and visiting volunteers, all with a colostomy.
1989 The CWG rebrands and is now known as the ‘British Colostomy Association’.
1990 The headquarters move to Reading. The British Colostomy Association builds an impressive portfolio of supportive literature, offers a 24hr helpline manned by volunteers (who are colostomates) and publishes ‘Tidings’ its flagship magazine.
2004 Macmillan Cancer Relief withdraw financial support and new trustees are sought.
2005 The British Colostomy Association is replaced by the Colostomy Association, a UK registered charity now completely self funding, with enthusiastic trustees at its helm.

The Website launches to reinforce the message of the Colostomy Association, to provide online support, reassurance and practical information.

2008 The Colostomy Association moves to new premises in Reading.
2010 The Website is relaunched to allow easier access to the latest news and literature, together with links to travel, insurance and stoma suppliers.
2012 The CA closed Facebook group was launched by two of our trustees, Duncan Wells and Sarah Squire.
2013 The Colostomy Association moves to bigger premises in Reading.
2015 The Colostomy Association celebrates its 10th anniversary of supporting people with a stoma.




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