Gloucestershire charity supported with social distancing signage

A regional charity has opened its doors again and is continuing to improve the lives of adult survivors of brain injuries thanks to a little help from a local co-operative.

During lockdown, visits by around 120 survivors to Headway Gloucestershire, who would usually attend to work on their recovery, had to stop.

When lockdown began to ease, the charity put out an appeal for help with signs to support its reopening. The request was made via a National Business Response Network platform and answered by the independent co-operative – Southern Co-op.

Ali Hendley, Manager Headway Gloucestershire, said: “We will be hosting welcome back groups and developing small ‘activity bubbles’ for survivors with similar recovery goals.

“The safety of our community is paramount and in order to be COVID-19 secure we have needed to introduce a wide range of changes to our premises and to the way that we deliver services within them. As a small, local charity we need every bit of help that we can access, and put every penny we raise to hard work.

“We are so grateful to have been supported with the printing of signs to help support and remind members of our community how to keep themselves and others safe while they are in our building.

“The signs are large and colourful – so that survivors who’ve experienced changes to their vision, attention or memory difficulties will be able to use them effectively as they enter and exit the building and when they are moving between rooms.

“The signs themselves are a significant practical support for us all, but the fact that they have been donated by Southern Co-op through Business in the Community is a reminder to our community that their safety and wellbeing matter.”

The National Business Response Network was formed in March by Business in the Community – a charity created nearly 40 years ago by HRH The Prince of Wales to champion responsible business.

Hayliegh Beckles, Business Development Manager at Business in the Community, said: “Over the past five months we have been able to connect requests from those who need it with offers of business support successfully matching over 2,000 requests.

“Whilst many are now looking at recovery, a number of communities still need emergency support especially those in local lockdown.”

Businesses who are able to help provide physical donations, for example tech devices, toiletries, stationary, clothing and cups, are invited to get in touch with Hayliegh Beckles via Hayliegh.beckles@bitc.org.uk.

Mark Smith, Chief Executive of Southern Co-op, said: “Throughout the pandemic we’ve had to quickly implement new safety equipment and signage to help customers and colleagues in our stores, funeralcare branches and our head office. When we heard that this community group needed signage, it wasn’t a decision that took any debating – it was the right thing to do.

“I have spent many years promoting the need for businesses to be more responsible and to work together. I hope others across the south will join us and continue to help out those in need during and after the outbreak.”

Headway Gloucestershire was supported with 120 floor stickers printed on durable, self-adhesive non-slip vinyl material.

Headway Gloucestershire was established in 1987 and since then has been working to improve the lives of adult survivors of brain injury, and those of their partners and families. Over the years Headway Gloucestershire’s services have developed in response to changing needs and it has grown significantly from a single room operation to a centre-based enablement service. The charity is affiliated to Headway UK but are a separate, independent local charity governed by its own board of trustees and responsible for its own fundraising.

Between April and September Headway Gloucestershire provided a remote support service – making daily welfare calls, hosting weekly zoom activities and issuing fortnightly resource packs so that survivors could continue to work towards their recovery.

To find out more about Headway Gloucestershire, visit www.headwaygloucestershire.org.uk. Or to find out more about Southern Co-op, visit www.southernco-op.co.uk.

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