Our Organisation

Our Charter

The Charity was set-up in memory of my father, Paul Popham. As with every person with kidney disease, his story is unique. My father was 28 when he was diagnosed with Kidney Failure, with 3 small children, at that time, he had a choice to make and his choice was to not let it beat him. He spent 6 years on dialysis whilst working shifts at Alcoa as a fitter and turner and bringing up a family. In 1985 my brother Matthew (meaning ‘Hope’) was born, and a week later dad had his first transplant. He said then if his transplant could give him 5 years to play football with his son, he would be a very happy man. He lived on until 2012 having survived two transplants. My father’s motto was to ‘believe in yourself’. It is with this motto we have set up the charity, to encourage adults, youths and children with kidney disease to ‘believe in themselves’ and therefore improve their quality of life.

The Charity was set-up on the 13th March 2013 at an inaugural meeting with 30 family members and friends. Our initial focus was to provide items to Morriston Renal Unit that would improve the patients’ quality of life. In 2013 the Renal Unit requested iPads for the Dialysis Unit; we fundraised and donated them that year. In 2014 the Home Therapies Team at Morriston Hospital requested lamps for their home dialysis patients; The Renal Unit at Morriston requested tables; and The Children’s Kidney Centre, Cardiff requested a Dialysis.

In 2015 we were asked by the late Elizabeth Baker, Lead Nurse, Renal Unit, Morriston Hospital and retired Specialist Nurse, Jayne Andrews to research the potential of facilitating a Befriending Service in Swansea – building on the work of the WKPA and Psychology Department Cardiff. In 2016 we re-launched the Befriending Service in Swansea. In 2017 we spent the year developing the policies and procedures of the Befriending Service including governance and confidentiality in line with NHS standards. 2018 we took the Befriending Training to Cardiff & Vale and we have commenced Counselling Services. The Befriending Service was renamed Peer Support Services in June 2020.

Our focus is to develop our Peer Support Services throughout Wales, training adults and youths with kidney disease and their family and carers to become volunteer Peer Mentors so they can support people like them to lead a better quality of life, through one to one support, telephone support, on-line support, group facilitation, called Kidney Café and activity based support. Our counselling service works alongside this to support those patients who require more emotional support than the Peer Mentors can provide. We will also continue to fund grant applications for patients and clinicians and to fund projects that will improve their well being such as days out for children and their families, activity weekends for youths and to support those who want to take part in the transplant games.

2020 has been a tough year for the third sector including our charity, during this time we have developed our Peer Support Services to continue to support patients on-line, virtually and over the telephone. We have collaborated with the Welsh Clinical Renal Unit and Kidney Care UK, Kidney Wales and the Welsh Clinical Research Unit to provide up-to-date information on the guidelines and services available to patients through a joint newsletter called: Covid-19 Update. We have also collaborated with Kidney Wales and Kidney Care UK to run a series of Virtual Patient Conferences and we will continue to collaborate and evolve these projects in the best interest of all kidney patients in Wales.

The development of the charity is not without the hard work of our staff, Trustees past and present, Peer Mentors, fundraisers within the local community, including the Paul Popham Running Club members, volunteers who support our aims and the partnerships developed within the NHS and wider community.


Click the button below to read our full charter:

Our Strategy

The Paul Popham Fund, Renal Support Wales has a simple aim: to improve the quality of life of adults, youths and children with kidney disease and their families and carers.

This is achieved through clear objectives:

  1. To improve the emotional wellbeing of all those affected by kidney disease in Wales
  2. To improve the financial wellbeing of all those affected by kidney disease in Wales
  3. To improve the physical wellbeing of all those affected by kidney disease in Wales
  4. To improve the knowledge of those affected by kidney disease through education
  5. To fund patient and professional projects that achieve our aim

Our fundraising strategy is to attribute funds raised to the above objectives. This provides transparency for our individual fundraisers, corporate partners, grant and trust providers. Our fundraising approach is to build relationships within the communities we serve throughout Wales, including individuals and commercial businesses within those communities. We monitor and evaluate the services we provide demonstrating to our funders how the charity, its services and beneficiaries have been supported and how they will be developed with their support.

The fund was founded and continues to be run by close friends and family of the late and very much respected Paul ‘Wally’ Popham. Everyone involved in the fund has been inspired in some way by Paul Popham’s unrelenting optimism in the face of renal disease. His legacy runs through the organisation encouraging everyone to believe in themselves.

Our Story

The Paul Popham Fund, Renal Support Wales was founded on March 13 2013, five months after Paul Popham lost his courageous battle with kidney cancer on the October 21 2012. Paul – or Wally as he was fondly known by his friends and the football community of Swansea – contracted a virus known as nephritis at the age of 28 which resulted in renal failure. His wife Cheryl was told that she would be a widow in 10 years, and with three young children under the age of 10, this was a particularly daunting prospect. Thankfully, Paul far outlived the consultant’s expectations. He had two kidney transplants, both allowing him seven years of dialysis-free living, with the second transplant coming straight after the birth of his fourth child. At that time Paul stated that if his kidney transplant gave him five years to play football with his young son, he would die a happy man.

Paul lived on way past Matthew’s fifth birthday. Sadly, however, he was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2005. He had the cancer removed in 2008 but was told that it had spread. His consultant gave him eight months to live with a drug that was licensed on the NHS and 14 months with a drug that was licensed but not available on the NHS at that time. Paul’s family and friends fought the NHS for the drug with the help of local media, The South Wales Evening Post, local radio stations Swansea Sound and The Wave as well as patient advocate, Rose Wood – ward of Kidney Cancer Support Network. Paul’s family got 8,000 people to sign a petition demanding that all kidney cancer patients in Wales receive treatment on the NHS. They took the petition to the Welsh Assembly in November 2008, and in January 2009 Health Minister Edwina Hart announced that four kidney cancer treatments would be made available on the NHS, one of which was the treatment Paul needed.

Paul started his treatment in January 2009. He took three courses of the treatment, but the side effects were too great. This did not stop Paul living on for four years without any treatment, far outliving standard medical prognosis and again demonstrating his extraordinary spirit.

Paul was, without doubt, a positive man and it was this positive attitude that enabled him to live a happy and wonderful life in the face of adversity, and still supporting his family and his beloved football team, St Joseph’s. It is with this spirit that the fund has been set up, to keep his legacy alive and support renal patients like him in Wales.

What We Do

Our strategy sets out 5 clear objectives which are achieved through various services, projects and initiatives.

Emotional Wellbeing

  • Peer Support Services
  • Counselling Services
  • Kidney Careline
  • Kidney Cafés – Support Groups
    • Post-Transplant Kidney Cafe
    • Home Therapies Kidney Café
    • Parents & Carers Kidney Café
    • Geography Based
  • On-Line Support Groups
    • Post-Transplant
    • Home Therapies
    • Parents & Carers

Financial Wellbeing

  • Patient Welfare Grants
  • Hospital Grants

Physical Wellbeing

  • Walking for Health Group
  • Supporting Transplant Games


  • Kidney Cafés – Educational Groups
    • Information & Support for New Patients
    • Transition – Children to Adult Services
  • Q&A Sessions
  • Collaborative Newsletters
  • KIDS – newsletter
  • Patient Conference


  • Children & Youth Activity Weekend
  • Christmas Day Out – Children and Family
  • Family & Sibling Activity Day
  • Children Kidney Centre – Refurbishment of the Outpatient Department

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