The Mayor of Redcar and Cleveland, Cllr Brian Briggs, took time out to visit the Teesside branch of the UK’s biggest brain injury charity last week.
Headway Teesside operates a drop-in centre in Middlesbrough catering for people with brain injuries and their friends and families. The centre has been open for seven years and has recently become a charity in its own right distinct from parent organisation Headway UK.
The organisation also campaigns to raise awareness about brain injuries and raises funds to help improve care services for brain injury victims across the region. It recently helped to secure the funding for the post of a new brain injury coordinator at James Cook University Hospital. Other services include providing rehabilitation programmes, carer support, assistance with social reintegration, community outreach and respite care.
Headway Teesside is chaired by Ben Townsend. He said: “Public awareness and understanding of brain injury is not as high as it is for other medical conditions, but it is the single biggest cause of death for people under 40 in the UK. Brain injuries can have debilitating effects on victims and their families, often leading to a wide range of disabilities and resulting in a heavy burden of care in the long-term.
“We were very pleased to welcome the Mayor along to the centre. He spent an hour with us hearing about the work that we do here. His interest, and that of the community as a whole, is invaluable and very much appreciated.”
The Mayor was accompanied by former Mayor and charity campaigner Cllr Mike Findley MBE, who suffers from Motor Neurone Disease. Cllr Briggs said: “I’m a great believer in meeting people face to face. We have constituents and their families that are affected by brain injuries and we have to decide what policies we have to support them. I have recommended Headway contact Redcar and Cleveland Social Services as a step forward, and hopefully they can send representatives along to Headway’s meetings in the future.”
Headway Teesside runs a weekly drop-in advice session at Newport Community Centre, St Paul’s Road, Middlesbrough every Wednesday from 12 to 2pm.
(back row) Andrew McDonald (committee member), Ben Townsend of Stewarts Law (chairman), Sue Moore (committee member), June Pooley (committee member)
(front row) Mike Finley (former mayor of Redcar and Cleveland), Brian Briggs (mayor of Redcar and Cleveland), Ann Harrison, (committee member), Dot Hart (committee member)