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Headway Portsmouth steps in to support carers during lockdown Main Image

Headway Portsmouth steps in to support carers during lockdown

Thu 16 Apr 2020

Headway Portsmouth has set up online support groups to help carers of brain injury survivors connect with one another during lockdown.

Headway Portsmouth usually runs a Carers Group at its centre at Alexandra Park, but following government guidelines it was forced to put a stop to the meetings.

This meant that some carers were left with the prospect of nowhere to turn in their times of need.

Thankfully, Headway Portsmouth were quick to step in, replacing the typical face-to-face services on offer with new remote ones, and were delighted that the Carers Group even set up their own WhatsApp chat to keep in touch.

Through social media and virtual messaging, the charity is continuing to support carers for those affected by brain injury, with conversations and activities replicating what’s usually on offer at the centre.

The team of staff at Headway Portsmouth

The team of staff at Headway Portsmouth

The charity’s Service Manager, Deborah Robinson, said: “Brain injury doesn't just affect individuals; it can transform the lives of entire families.

“Following a brain injury, family members may have to take on the new role as a full-time or part-time carer as their loved one tries to get to grips with a new way of life.

“This can present its own challenges, and it’s important that someone is there to support both the brain injury survivor and their carer during incredible times of change and sacrifice – that’s where Headway Portsmouth comes in.”

For the past 13 months, Headway Portsmouth has been running a carers group which brings together carers from across the community to socialise, share ideas and provide an opportunity for respite from their responsibilities.

But the coronavirus outbreak has meant that this service can no longer run, further isolating those who usually rely on the support.

Deborah said: “Carers of those with a brain injury may have already experienced feelings of isolation and loneliness. Some carers may have had to give up their career to focus on the new care needs of an individual, while others may struggle to find time for themselves and their interests.

“Thankfully, the support sessions on offer at Headway Portsmouth mean that these individuals can take time to focus on themselves whilst their loved one is taken care of by a team of staff and volunteers.”

But as a result of the public health crisis, some of the community’s most isolated members no longer have a chance of respite.

“When those opportunities are taken away for carers to break away from their normal routine and have a moment to themselves, these feelings can be exacerbated,” said Deborah.

“Now more than ever its important that we rally together to support those in need, albeit virtually.

“The social media and WhatsApp groups set up have been great in connecting carers from across the community. It’s helped people to understand that although they are having to self-isolate, it doesn’t mean they’re alone.

“The Carers Group are phoning each other regularly and even posting pictures of their Easter dinners and where possible sharing with isolated members.”

But the decision to cease face-to-face services at the day centre and replace these with remote services free of charge has left Headway Portsmouth with questions about its finances.

“Like many other small charities at the moment, the financial impact of the coronavirus has the potential to cause huge disruption to the services we offer,” said Deborah.

“In order to continue supporting brain injury survivors and those closest to them, we rely on generous donations made by the public.

“Every pound you donate will go directly towards supporting those affected by brain injury in and around Portsmouth and will make a huge difference to their lives.”

To donate, visit headwayportsmouth.co.uk/donate-now/

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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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