Second Chance Headway Centre was established in 1979 it has gone through many changes over the years both to meet the demand as well as survive in the current economic climate. The Charity is for anybody who has suffered a brain injury, be it acquired or traumatic, the devastating effects it can have and often does have on both the individual and his/her family are the same.
At Second Chance Headway we have always listened to our service users, their carers and those who call in for advice. Brain injury often comes with no warning. Families are left confused, worried and unsure of what each day will bring. It is a terrifying time and only the start of their roller-coaster journey. We identified a need for community outreach support. We received over 70 referrals for support in just 6 months. Some people just need someone to listen; others need practical advice and help. We have started to audit carer support this year to help ascertain the best way forward.
Some individuals with brain injury do not accept that they need support and help. They haven’t had the insight to understand that they are not handling situations well anymore, not showing love like they did or not controlling their temper. It is often a hidden condition, with subtle problems, that even those closest do not notice the effects until it has started to damage their relationships in all areas of their life.
The charity has a balanced mix of experience and specialism which help us understand both the physical, cognitive and emotional effects on everyone involved. We help the service user to learn about their condition through various groups and 1:1 sessions. We work with the family and carers to ensure consistency and improve support mechanisms for our service users. Most importantly we treat every service user as an individual not talking down to them because they are in a wheelchair, or struggle to process information quickly, not speaking for them because they have lost their words. We try our best to empower every service user, find what works for them to help them make their own choices, raise their confidence, identify a purpose and role in their life, to laugh and smile again.
Previous lottery funding enabled the charity to move forward, maintain a city centre location and employ clinical and rehabilitation focused staff. Despite the changes, our vision has never changed, we have tried hard to hold on to our family feel. Feedback from service users, families, carers, staff and volunteers reassure us that we have managed to achieve this.
Our aim is to ensure that our service users engage, improve and leave feeling positive and happy. To ensure that they feel comfortable and safe with a focus on increasing a sense of security out in the community, which in turn helps the community to begin to understand them.
Second Chance does what it says on the tin ‘gives people a second chance’ at life, being happy, having friends and achieving personal goals. We are a family – supporting each other to get through the good and bad times.
SCHC has always been a special place providing essential support. During the many years we have seen the service grow and improve.