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Sponsorship will help Headway care for brain injury survivors and their families

JANE James and Associates is supporting a charity that helps brain injury survivors rebuild their lives after life-changing accidents or illnesses.

JANE James and Associates is supporting a charity that helps brain injury survivors rebuild their lives after life-changing accidents or illnesses.

The company has become a year-long Silver Sponsor of Headway Salisbury and South Wiltshire, which supports and encourages around 50 members who have sustained strokes or suffered serious accidents, hypoxia or meningitis. Its staff and volunteers work closely with members, their families and carers, to help them regain as much of their old life as possible.

“Our emphasis is on reintegrating people back into the community, doing things that they love and having meaningful occupation – that might mean getting back into work again, getting into volunteering or being part of groups that have a shared interest,” said the charity’s Community Engagement Manager Bec Burrow.

“Some people who come to us are back on their feet and thriving again with a little bit of support. But others could be with us for years and for them success could be maintaining the status quo because without the right support they could regress. A brain injury is as individual as the person themselves.”

Like most charities, the group was forced by Covid to stop face to face weekly meetings for members and their families at the Salisbury Medical Practice. Instead, it switched all its contact to Zoom sessions. The extra cost of adapting the service, plus the loss of subscription revenue from members and a year of lost fundraising events has had a huge financial impact.

Said Mrs Burrows: “It has been difficult but the sponsorship from Jane James and Associates is completely bolstering our position at the moment and really supporting us to be here for the people who need us. We are incredibly grateful for this generous sponsorship.”

Trustee Hannah Carr added: “We are delighted to have Jane James and Associates on board as our corporate partners and look forward to working with them with all their skills, expertise and energy to continue to deliver vital high quality support and services to those affected by brain injury.”

The sponsorship will continue to help the group provide support and encouragement to its members, which begins when they first come into contact with it, through either GP, family or self referral.

“We meet them in their home or somewhere they feel comfortable to talk through challenges they are facing and look at where they want to get to and how we can help,” said Mrs Burrow.

“It could just be about meeting others in the same position, learning how to cope with frustration or deal with little challenges like talking to someone on the phone and then forgetting who you spoke to as soon as you hang up. Just having somebody who may have faced the same thing can be a big help. It’s that camaraderie and understanding that there are others in the same position.”

The weekly meetings not only provide activities that focus on cognitive, physical and social rehabilitation like art workshops, ukulele sessions, sports or visits from groups such as Wessex Archaeology, they also provide invaluable friendship.

“The meetings are a very supportive, positive and encouraging environment and a lot of the group members know each other very well,” said Mrs Burrows. “If someone’s having a bad day there’s always someone who has been through it themselves. One of the great things you see is the sharing of coping strategies, either with affected individuals or their family members.”

The weekly sessions are just as much benefit to family members and carers who share experiences and advice. “It’s not uncommon for families to talk about grief after a brain injury. Obviously they haven’t lost that individual but they have lost the personality of that person and quite often a personality can change dramatically,” said Mrs Burrows. “It means families are not just learning to cope with the changing needs of an individual but also who that individual now is.

“While people are in our service it’s a little bit of respite for family members too, even if it is just time for them to get their hair cut or catch up with friends for a coffee with someone. All that side of things is so incredibly important for maintaining your own wellbeing.”

The group hopes to be back meeting in person by the summer and already has its nine volunteers, some of whom have had family members with brain injuries, taking small groups out for walks and coffee.

Mrs Burrow said: “We are moving forward now and what we are really trying to do is give our group members and our volunteers confidence to get back in person because we can’t do what we do without our volunteers and they have got to be happy and comfortable. That’s going to take time and we can’t rush it.”

Luci Lloyd, Head of Clinical Support at Jane James and Associates, said: “This charity provides vital support and resources to people living with a brain injury and their families. Due to the nature of the work we do as care experts and in our clinical roles, we have a real understanding of how essential Headway’s support is.”

Find out more about Headway Salisbury and South Wiltshire here.

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