GB Team member at Headway open day

GB Team member will welcome people to an open day for Wirral residents living with a serious brain injury

A member of the Great Britain’s Paraclimbing Team will welcome visitors to an open day for West Wirral families and friends living with an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).

Dave Bowes, award-winning climber and member of the GB Paraclimbing Team, will be joined by The Mayor of Wirral, Cllr Steve Foulkes, at the open day at St Luke’s Church in Hoylake on Thursday, December 4.

Dave suffered multiple brain injuries as a result of a car crash in 2007, which left him with a neurological disability. He refused to let his life changing injuries stop him from climbing and has since become British Paraclimbing Champion in his category and has already been on the podium in the Paraclimbing World Cup.

The event is being held by the brain injury charity, Headway, and sponsored by serious and catastrophic injury specialist solicitors from Birchall Blackburn Law. It is hoped that the open day will raise awareness of brain injury, within the community and could potentially lead to a regular brain injury support group for West Wirral.

Philip Barr, from Headway Wirral, says: “There are more than 800 people in Wirral living with a brain injury, which may have occurred as a result of an accident, stroke or tumour. That’s 800 families dealing with a catastrophic head injury that has completely changed all of their lives.

“Each family faces different challenges and has different needs. We offer information, support and services to help all family members to try to cope with the physical and psychological trauma of a serious brain injury. We hope as many people as possible can join us on our open day to find out how we can help them and their loved ones.”

Headway Wirral already runs three support groups for people over 18-years-old (two in Birkenhead and one in Bromborough) and a drop-in clinic at Clatterbridge hospital. The charity is holding the open day to discover if a support group for West Wirral would be welcome – and if enough funding can be secured by the charity to run the group.

It costs more than £25,000 a year to fund Headway’s activities in Wirral and £5,000 a year to run a weekly support group. The vast majority of Headway’s funding comes from generous donations and fundraising.

Dianne Yates, Partner and Head of Serious and Catastrophic Injury for Birchall Blackburn Law, says: “Headway does incredible work for Wirral people coping with unimaginable and traumatic changes to the way they live. It would benefit many lives if Headway could extend its services into West Wirral.

“Our job is to support organisations like Headway and to secure the financial future and care for people with serious head injuries. Advances in medicine and technology mean more and more people are living with acquired brain injuries. Each person is affected differently and only 15 per cent ever work again, which means financial security is vital if a family is going to try and rebuild a life.”

Despite the growing number of people living with ABI, the public and public services – such as the police and local councils – remain largely ignorant of the complicated and devastating impact it has on a person’s character and social skills. In many cases, it is impossible to tell if someone is suffering from an ABI just by looking at them, but the injury can cause profound psychological changes that alter their behaviour drastically.

Headway works to promote understanding of all aspects of brain injury and campaigns to reduce the incidence of ABI through education, promoting the use of cycling helmets, reducing car speeds and improving road safety.

Anyone interested in attending the Headway open day should visit St Luke’s Church, Market Street, in Hoylake on Thursday, December 4, between 10am and 2pm. For more information about Headway go to www.headway.org.uk or call 0808 800 2244.

For more information about the work of Birchall Blackburn Law within the field of serious and catastrophic injury call 0800 614 722.