Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality
Ross is 48. When he was in his 20s he was run over and sustained a serious head injury. As a result of his accident, he was unable to return to his job. Everyone who meets him is struck by his intelligence, humour and generosity but don’t immediately detect the cognitive difficulties that he has been left with. He is very trusting and sees the best in people and can get taken advantage of.
Ross became involved with us in 2013 and is a regular and popular member of our afternoon Chapter social group. He is sometimes arrives late without having had anything to eat because he can find it hard to organise himself and other areas of his life can be a bit haphazard and chaotic.
We have assisted him with his ESA and PIP claims. Ross is really positive and tends to overlook some of the difficulties he has. This can be a real barrier to him getting what he is entitled to and is why our input is so important.
Ross can struggle with organising his domestic life. He was renting a small flat without any heating, hot water or cooking facilities because his boiler and oven had broken down some time before. He had not raised this with his landlord because he was concerned for his tenancy. As a result of his living conditions, he had some health problems.
Our Outreach and Information Officer was able to link him to the Salvation Army who provide a wonderful house clearing service to help people sustain their tenancies. Once progress had been made in this area, she supported him to approach his landlord to ask him to address some of the maintenance issues, including the boiler. Ross’ landlord has now moved him to a new flat while he undertakes work on the property. Ross is extremely happy with his new living conditions and medical conditions have cleared up.
In 2008, Hannah, who was in her 20s fell ill with Encephalitis and as a result sustained a brain injury. She is still very bright but this resulted in short term memory loss, difficulties planning, organising and problem solving, poor concentration and motivation, psychological and physical disabilities. She came to us for support and began attending out Independence and Wellbeing Centre in 2010.
Her time at the centre enabled her to grow in confidence. She became a very active member on our Community Forum, and from there went on to become a member on her local Community Health Care Council.
We encouraged her to apply to study a Master’s degree, which we supported her through, helping her to structure her thesis and liaising with the University to explain her difficulties when she fell behind with course work. Eventually she successfully gained her Masters.
We then supported her to apply for employment, again helping her structure and condense her CV and letter of application. She was successful in getting employment in the civil service when they were specifically recruiting for representatives with disabilities. She is extremely happy in her new role and because of its nature, finds her employer very understanding and supportive.
Gareth is 35. He sustained a brain injury in his late teens as a result of a sporting injury. As a result, he has a number of difficulties, many of them psychological as well as issues with his confidence and self-esteem. Gareth attends our Independence and Wellbeing Centre and has benefitted from our counselling service and Welfare Benefits service. Over the years he has become an active member of our Community Forum, sometimes chairing meetings. Gareth is very caring by nature and has become an invaluable volunteer at our Wednesday Centre day for people with very high support needs.
Gareth takes on a lot of caring responsibilities within his family. Recently, he identified that he felt having his own place would be really beneficial to his emotional wellbeing. We supported him to apply to the council for his own house, writing him a supporting letter. Gareth has just moved and is enjoy setting up home and having his own space.
Letter from a family member
The help, support and guidance we have received from you has been absolutely first class and I can’t put into words just how grateful I am of your input throughout Dad’s journey. The work you carry out at Headway is like nothing I have ever witnessed before, and the positive contribution you have made to the improvement of my Father’s wellbeing has been enormous. If there is any way that I can show you just how grateful I am, whether it is in the shape of a donation to the Headway cause then please do let me know. The impact that you have had on both my own and Dad’s lives has been priceless and I will forever be in debt to you both and Headway as an organisation.
After only three visits to the independent centre, Dad is already reaping the benefits and I am already seeing signs of progression in his mood and general outlook on day-to-day life. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we can be looking at provisionally getting him involved in the other activities you facilitate at Headway.
Thank you so, so much again and please pass on my best regards to the whole of the Headway team. You really are real-life superheroes.