Charity making headway with rehabilitation

This Is Wiltshire: Charity making headway with rehabilitation Charity making headway with rehabilitation

HEAD injuries are often referred to as the unseen injury, but one charity in Swindon is helping people come to terms with the life changing impact they can have.

Headway Swindon and District, based on the Headlands Trading Estate, is an independent charity affiliated to Headway UK.

Since 1989 it has provided adults suffering from a brain injury with cognitive and social rehabilitation.

Headway House is open Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm and they aim to enable brain injury survivors to regain and relearn skills that have become impaired.

They put on a host of activities to promote cognitive and social rehabilitation, which is personally tailored for the individual.

Alison Burton, service manager, said: “It is very difficult for people who have been independent to suddenly deal with having that taken away.

“They find it hard to get across what they are feeling and because of that you can see people change.

“I love working here and everyone who comes here enjoys it, it is like a big family.”

One of the people who attends the centre, who did not want to be named, said: “Headway gives me extra help when needed. It’s a place to come where everyone is the same as me and understands what has happened to me.

“I enjoy Headway because I can come and find out all the different things I am able to do.

“Headway gives me opportunities to relearn lost skills and exercise my brain at a difficult time in my life.”

The charity is not only there for the victims of head injuries – the accidents can also have a big impact on the lives of the people around them.

Family and friends often need help to cope with the sudden changes and Headway is able to provide support and guidance to the carers as well.

One carer said: “Headway Swindon recognises the importance of not only supporting the brain injured person but also those around them.

“They provide opportunities for families to come together to share their experiences.

“I have taken comfort from knowing ‘we’re not the only ones’ and finding out how others deal with many issues which present themselves in all aspects of daily life.”

It costs £200,000 a year to run Headway House, with users paying £48 a day for the service, but they are always looking for more ways to find funding.

They are currently trying to raise £5,000 for a speech and language system that will benefit 60 users.

Alison said: “You try and put yourself out there as much as you can but with most charities you don’t think about them until you need them.

“I do think that a head injury can turn your life upside down.

“It has been difficult this year to try and raise the funds and we do have fund raising events but it would be nice for more people to know about us.”

To find out more about Headway Swindon and District visit www.headwayswindon.org.uk.

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