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Headway supporting its clients through Covid

Headway supporting its clients through Covid

A year on since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, this is how local charity Headway Suffolk, who supports adults living with brain injury, stroke and neurological conditions, has continued to help its clients throughout.

As the peak of the virus struck, Headway had to close its Bury St Edmunds hub, its four outreach hubs and its face-to-face support and therapy services, as well as drastically reduce the number of clients at its Ipswich hub. Like many charities, we feared for our financial stability and survival.

We saw a big increase in demand for our homecare services from Suffolk County Council to help hospitals with the discharge of patients.

To support those isolated at home, we adapted and created new services.

We implemented a virtual hub so clients could access rehab and social activities remotely and provided free devices to those who needed them. Activity books were also sent out regularly to help stimulation.

Supermarkets felt such an unsafe place to visit and online deliveries were tough to access, so we registered with the local authority to produce and deliver nutritional hot meals, as well as a food bank to supply parcels of food and essential products.

Counselling sessions moved to remote support and saw an increase as clients naturally struggled with anxiety and stress at such a difficult time. And our phones were always open to offer a friendly, listening ear.

With gyms being a no-go zone, we adapted by supporting clients at the local outdoor gym in between lockdowns so they can work on their fitness, improve mental health and play sports, such as basketball and walking football.

As things gradually began to ease, we have been able to resume some face-to-face services and clients can now get support with physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy.

Our Ipswich hub is now open Monday to Friday and our Bury St Edmunds hub is currently open Wednesday to Friday, but naturally many clients still feel safer at home until things improve.

We continue to operate strict procedures on infection control, social distancing, temperate checks and full PPE. Our staff team have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and will receive the second dose in April.

Headway Suffolk would like to thank everyone who supported us throughout a traumatic 2020 and has ensured we continue to survive and thrive into 2021 to support all our clients.

If you would like to support our cause, please visit www.headwaysuffolk.org.uk or see us on Facebook and Twitter as @HeadwaySuffolk.

On Wednesday 12 May, we hold our annual Neuro Conference, which will take place online and tickets are just £20 each with an impressive line-up of speakers:

Steve Thompson - England Rugby star and dementia sufferer; Dawn Astle – better safety in football campaigner; Dr Michael Grey – neuroscientist at UEA; Sam Norris – speedway rider and brain injury survivor; Dr Sajid Alam – stroke lead at Ipswich Hospital.

To book, call 01473 712225 or email helenmfairweather@headwaysuffolk.org.uk. At details at www.headwaysuffolk.org.uk/events. Sponsorship and trade stands are available.

Article by Headway Suffolk

Headway Suffolk is a leading charity that supports adults with brain injury, stroke and neurological conditions and their families in Suffolk through a wide-range of rehabilitation and therapy services.