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Save Headway Oxfordshire - Brain Injured Will Battle The Cuts

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Save Our Headway - Brain Injury Survivors Will Battle the Council Cuts 

Hello, 

I am a service user, under the care of Headway Oxfordshire, which was featured in the Oxford Mail on 13th November (link below) and with regards to the Oxfordshire County Council proposal to withdraw funding of this essential service.

I have been supported by Headway Oxfordshire now for 3.5 years and Headway has been a valuable and important part of my rehabilitation for my brain injury.  If it wasn't for Headway Oxfordshire, I wouldn't have been able to make such big leaps and bounds in my recovery.

Headway Oxfordshire is a brain injury charity which supports adults, like me, living with brain injuries and their carers/families. Despite a recent £450,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund (see - http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/14028285.___Catastrophic____cuts_may_force_brain_trauma_charity_to_close/) Headway Oxfordshire will be losing the funding they get for the core services that I use and need. I feel really passionate about this and wanted to offer my story in the hope that it might inspire and butter sweet the councillors and big powers, to revoke their decision as without Headway Oxfordshire, so many people's lives like mine wouldn't be as enriched. 

I suffered a peri-natal brain injury at birth, probably caused by being delivered via forceps and of which caused a lack of oxygen to my brain. I spent quite a while of my first few days fighting for life in the JR Special Care Baby Unit, and the doctors didn't know whether I would live, for my Mum to take her new baby son home.  Fortunately, I did pull through, and I've always been a fighter and a walking miracle ever since.  I couldn't talk until I was 5/6 and required speech and language therapy to help to get me to talk, this was due to the brain injury, but the brain injury of which wasn't fully known until October 2010 upon a MRI scan at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London.  Then I suffered a head injury on top in October 1996 aged 8 at primary school and this resulted in 2001 in having major surgery to a haematoma, through the 'miraculous' doctors at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, where, complications set in during the procedure, but thanks to the 'amazing' skills of the surgeons involved, they managed to make me pull through after a blood clot during surgery. 

Since early 2012, I have been under the fantastic care of Headway Oxfordshire in Kennington, attending the Activity & Rehabilitation Centre weekly on a Tuesday as part of my rehabilitation and thanks to them many aspects of my life have improved. I access physiotherapy and complimentary therapies, such as tai chi and yoga (which helps to improve my strength amongst other things). To improve my memory we do memory games as well as other activities to help improve my cognitive and social skills.  All of this has helped me achieve a part time job at my local Sainsbury's (which I never imagined I would gain paid part time employment after losing my previous job in 2011 due to my ill health) to re-building my confidence (which I lost) as well as vocational skills, helping with emails and re-building my IT skills. 

If the county council cuts the funding for Headway Oxfordshire, then this would be a huge devastating loss, as my support services would be cut and so would other people with brain injury.  

Headway Oxfordshire is a lifeline for so many people under its care and for many socialisations is a huge part of Headway's play, many of the service users like my fellow's in the Tuesday group, wouldn't have access to socialising, and therefore would feel more isolated and lonely.  

For carers, like my mum, it’s also an important haven as it allows the chance for them to take a breather whilst their loved one attends the centre across 4 groups 4 days a week, and also Headway offers breaks for carers which gives the chance for carers (and the cared for) the chance to go away on a mini break with staff and other carers and this allows socialisation as well as brief respite. For many don't get to go away on a holiday, and this is their chance, for example my mum and me greatly appreciate the benefits of these offered breaks for carers as we've been away with Headway on 2 now, and they are absolutely brilliant and without the funding, again these breaks for carers and even days out, wouldn’t be financially viable. For me and my Mum our first weekend break away with Headway in October 2013 was our first holiday in 8 years, so it was greatly appreciated. 

Ongoing fundraising from the public is hugely and ever important, and I would like to appeal to the generosity of Oxfordshire residents to dig deep (as they do so wonderfully well to a range of charitable causes in the county) for Headway Oxfordshire so that its ever important and hugely valuable service can continue from June 2016 and beyond. As like every charity Headway Oxfordshire relies on donations and raising funds and awareness.  I play my part in supporting Headway Oxfordshire, a token of gratitude back, and through 'Play2Give', the fundraising organisation I set up with friends in 2007, £1,850.10 has been donated to date over the past 2 years towards the ARC and in particular towards helping the charity achieve its £200,000 goal for the hugely needed redevelopment of the ARC (Activity and Rehabilitation Centre). Play2Give will continue to support and fundraise for Headway Oxfordshire through Play2Give's network of loyal and ever-growing supporters in 2016.   

Thank you for listening.

 

Andrew Baker

Headway Oxfordshire Service Uuser



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