Brain injury charity given £78K to help patients get back into work

Second chance: Sam Balmer, Peter Taylor, Keith Swinson, Meral Altilar, and Matthew Baum.
Second chance: Sam Balmer, Peter Taylor, Keith Swinson, Meral Altilar, and Matthew Baum.

A charity that helps people with brain injuries has been given a new grant to help patients back into work.

Second Chance Headway on Almshouse Lane in Wakefield city centre has been awarded £78,000 of European cash for workshops and training around the district, including in Hemsworth, Kinsley, South Elmsall and Castleford.

Second Chance business manager Peter Taylor said a lot of people with brain injuries in those areas did not receive the support they need.

And he said the 60 per cent of the charity’s members, who live in social housing in Castleford and Airedale, would also stand to benefit from its project, entitled Heads Toward Work.

He said: “This will give us reach.”

“And the timing of this funding was perfect. We reached a point where needed to keep expanding to keep going.”

Specialist neuro occupational therapist Meral Altilar, who will lead the project , said: “We’ve been stretched very thin but this money will allow us to run bespoke workshops for hard to reach people.”

She said that a lack of funding in statutory NHS services often meant people will brain injuries fell through the cracks and this project would help to combat that shortfall.

She said: “They found gaps in services and this is one of the biggest – the long term work to get people back on track and into work.

“There are services for people with mental health issues, learning difficulties and physical disabilities, but people with brain injuries don’t fit those boxes so they always end up being put on courses that don’t fit their needs.”

‘It was the best thing I’ve done’

Matthew Baum, Sam Balmer and Keith Swinson have found their way back into work after being supported by Second Chance Headway.

Matthew said: “I think if I wasn’t here I wouldn’t have known where to go or what to do. Having this support has been really, really helpful.”

Sam said: “After my accident I was just drifting. I didn’t know what to and had nothing to work towards.

“After I started here I’ve been able to build my confidence and start planning.”

Keith said: “The best thing I could ever have done was come to Second Chance.”

Visit schc.co.uk to find out more.