A CHARITY set up to support brain injury sufferers has fought back from adversity after overcoming a series of setbacks during the coronavirus pandemic.
Headway Darlington & District, which provides vital support to adults affected by brain injury across the North East, has relocated to a new head office and overhauled its service offering in response to mounting challenges brought about by the crisis.
Offering support to individuals from across County Durham, Teesside and North Yorkshire, the independent charity was formed seven years ago by a group of brain injury professionals and is now relied upon by over 50 families, thanks to the hard work of its 25-strong army of volunteers.
Yet despite the organisation’s continued growth, Headway saw its main income stream slashed during the pandemic and was dealt a triple blow when it was forced to relocate and rethink its entire operation.
Amy Crosby, chairwoman of the charity, said: “The pandemic has been a real challenge for us as we support a very vulnerable group of individuals.
“First and foremost, we had to completely rethink how we ran our service, as we could no longer run face-to-face sessions and the shift to virtual sessions was a huge challenge in itself.
“For many of our members the virtual support we trialled was just too overwhelming.”
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Amy added that the cancellation of popular fundraising events, such as the Great North Run, were a huge blow for the charity’s finances.
Now, the charity has moved to a new premises at Business Central, at Union Square Central Park.
“The team at Business Central have been fantastic since we moved to the site in September 2020,” Amy added.
“Many brain injuries are invisible and due to the adaption to change causing a significant strain for many survivors, we had to ensure our new venue had a warm and welcoming atmosphere, ensuring our members felt comfortable and welcome whenever they visited.
“We were only able to open for a brief period of five weeks, in between the first and second lockdown. However every member of the group that visited us at Business Central loved the space and the staff, which is exactly what we were hoping to achieve.
“It’s a place our members feel safe and that’s key to helping us grow as an organisation and reach out to more people.”