The seconds, minutes and hours after a road collision are shocking and traumatic but the hardest times can be in the days, weeks, months and years after a life-changing road traffic collision.
The emergency response services have done their jobs and you are left in hospital or at home feeling overwhelmed, isolated and desperate to know how you are going to move forward. You or a loved one may be seriously injured. The road traffic collision may have resulted in fatalities and you are grieving.
It may not seem like anyone can help but support is available from people who have some understanding of what you are feeling and what you are about to go through.
A number of organisations and charities exist to help victims and their families after a road traffic collision. Birchall Blackburn Law supports one such amazing charity in North West England, called Aftermath Support.
Aftermath Support is a charity that helps all victims of road collisions across Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire and parts of Greater Manchester. The charity also offers support anywhere they have volunteers and all over the UK via the telephone.
It began as a pilot scheme for Merseyside, funded and supported by the Home Office and in partnership with three organisations: RoadPeace, Headway and Merseyside Police. Its aim was to improve support provided to victims of incidents involving road death and serious injury.
The pilot ended in May 2005 but proved to be so successful and vital to the victims of road traffic incidents that Aftermath Support is now an independent registered charity (1111298) and continues to help hundreds of people every year.
Jackie Briscoe, manager of Aftermath Support, and two staff members, Julie and Tim, are heart of the charity’s service. Jackie is responsible for the day-to-day running of the charity. This includes recruiting volunteers, writing and delivering training, writing funding bids, finance, staff management, volunteer support and providing support and information to victims of road collisions.
In the beginning she was given a small room in a police station, some filing cabinets and a phone line – and since then Aftermath Support has gone from strength to strength.
Jackie says: “I have empathy with victims of road collisions having had a personal experience. This doesn’t mean I have all the answers but I am a good listener and hopefully by working together, victims can build new lives. Life will always be different but different doesn’t always have to be bad!
“Working with Aftermath has been a steep learning curve, not only working with victims but working with volunteers, developing and delivering training and putting together funding bids – particularly important to sustain the charity!”
Aftermath Support still maintains a close working relationship with Merseyside Police, Headway and RoadPeace. It has also built up a considerable network of support services with other organisations and charities that help people in need.
The charity’s volunteers are trained to take into account the individual needs of road traffic victims and the definition of ‘victim’ is in the widest sense of the word. They offer support to the seriously injured, the bereaved, families, friends, carers, RTC witnesses and, in some cases, the drivers and their families.
Aftermath Support’s vital work is summed up perfectly by John from The Alder Centre, in Liverpool.
When speaking at Aftermath’s last training day in May he said that with most things in life, if there is someone with you and supporting you then anything that seems insurmountable can suddenly feel a bit more manageable. This applies to traumatic events like road traffic collisions that end in life changing injury, grief and bereavement. If you have a network of support from family, friends, volunteers and professionals around you, then overcoming what you have to deal with can seem possible. Aftermath Support is a good place to start building your support network. You can see John’s video here.
To find out more about Aftermath Support call 0845 634 4273, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.aftermathsupport.org.uk.