£165k boost for brain injury survivors in the Scottish Borders

A new service for brain injury survivors in the Scottish Borders has been launched following a £165,000 funding boost from the National Lottery Community Fund. Dynamic Community Fusion (DCF), a Galashiels-based social enterprise, has been awarded two years of funding to deliver the new Reconnect with Confidence programme for people living with brain injuries or neurological conditions. The initiative builds on the success of DCF’s previous Reconnect programme, which helped people overcome isolation and loneliness. This will continue to be a key element of the new Reconnect with Confidence programme, with additional financial and benefits guidance. The programme will support more than 100 people in the Scottish Borders over the next two years. Online delivery will move to community based support across the region as restrictions allow.

Service Manager at DCF, Peter Cockburn, says:

Feelings of loss, isolation and loneliness are a common experience for people with neurological conditions, particularly following brain injury. These feelings can occur because of personality change, loss of self-identity, breakdown of relationships, difficulties socialising, or altered financial situations. “These issues have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic with additional fears around financial management and benefit support.

People will be offered benefits advice, financial guidance, and support to engage in meaningful activities to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. Help will be given to try different activities, access social groups or voluntary opportunities. Participants can also become DCF volunteers or befrienders.

David Horder, aged 61 and from Roxburghshire, benefited from previous DCF programmes after a stroke left him with cognitive difficulties. A regular at support groups and social gatherings, David struggled with lockdown restrictions, but with DCF support, mastered online shopping, avoided phone scammers, completed online forms and regularly posted music and photos of his craft projects on social media. “I wanted to cheer people up and inspire then to keep going, even after a life-altering event. I’m currently completing a giant jigsaw puzzle – about 10 pieces a day. I also walk daily, keep up with my music lessons, and volunteer. The service has helped me a lot. Being alone during lockdown was hard and it was great to receive regular calls from the DCF team. That wee bit of contact helped me not feel so alone. They’re a great group of people who help in ways that I didn’t know were possible. A big ‘thank you’ to them!”

For more information, contact peterc@dynamiccommunityfusion.co.uk

Photo credit: Unsplash user Priscilla Du Preez