A merger of two brain injury charities from either side of the Tyne will lead to more people getting the specialist support they deserve.
Headway Gateshead & South Tyneside and Headway Newcastle and North Tyneside officially joined forces to become Headway Tyneside at a special event to mark this year’s Action for Brain Injury Week.
The new group, which will be based at Walkergate Park as well as various different locations in the community, will support hundreds of survivors and their families from across the region who are coming to terms with the often devastating consequences of brain injury.
The services at the new charity, which will initially support around 100 people, includes family and carer support, mentoring schemes, drop in sessions and social activities.
John Davis, Chairman of Headway Tyneside, said: “This merger is a great thing for the people of Tyneside and will help us expand our services, as well as work more efficiently to provide the crucial support that brain injury survivors and their families deserve.
“A brain injury can affect every aspect of you: walking, talking, thinking and feeling. It can mean losing the life you once led and the person you once were. Imagine your life changing in an instant. Suddenly, you’re unable to complete the most basic of everyday tasks that most of us take for granted. That’s where Headway comes in.
“I’m very proud to be involved in the work to create this new charity and I’m certain our local community will support us as we strive to help those people affected by brain injuries in their area.”
Charles Southam, 28, from Bedlington is a service user of the new charity.
He sustained his brain injury when he was only four months old after his stepfather dropped him down the stairs.
The injury left him with a number of difficulties including cognitive, memory and concentration problems.
He said: “I love attending Headway as it gives me a chance to meet people who are living with the same challenges as me. It’s just like one big family, with everyone supporting each other.
“Attending has really built up my confidence and helped me come to terms with some of the hard things that life throws at you.”
Charles, who previously attended Headway Newcastle and North Tyneside, said he thought the merger was a great idea.
He said: “It’s really exciting and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and hearing their stories. The merger will mean even more brain injury survivors and their families can get the kind of help I received. The Headway family just got bigger and I think that is fantastic news.”
The merger launch, which took place at Walkergate Park, included a display of service users artwork around this year’s Action for Brain Injury Week’s campaign, A New Me.
A New Me is designed to give a voice to people affected by brain injury – individuals living with brain injury, as well as family members/carers – in order to raise awareness of how lives and futures can change in an instant.
A brain injury can challenge every aspect of you, including your very personality and what makes you you.
After suffering a brain injury, many people feel like a new person and their personality may be severely altered. This change of identity and personality can have a massive effect on them, and their loved ones, as they come to terms with the ‘new’ person they have become.
More information is available at www.anewme.org.uk