The Brain Injury Foundation purchased and renovated a property which will provide a permanent, dedicated centre of excellence for brain injury survivors, their carers and family members.
The Brain Injury Foundation (BIF) is a cross-community support group which also provides respite. It was launched by a group of survivors, carers and volunteers in August 2012 and has over 100 members.
BIF services all of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust area with members drawn from Dungannon, Loughgall, Richhill, Bessbrook, Newry, Gilford, Warrenpoint, Rostrevor, Kilkeel, Newcastle, Castlewellan and Rathfriland.
In 2013 BIF purchased and renovated a property in Camlough following a £350,000 grant from Space and Place. Prior to this the group depended on temporary premises and was limited in the work it could do.
The new premises named ‘Our House,’ will provide a permanent, dedicated centre of excellence for brain injury survivors, their carers and family members. It was officially opened in October 2015.
Through the centre and its work, BIF aims to minimise isolation and enhance the confidence of their members enabling them to socialise, develop their communication skills, learn new skills and engage fully in their local community.
The facility will also allow BIF to help integrate brain injury survivors into the wider community by opening up the building for wider community use by organisations in this rural area and beyond.
Speaking at the opening of the new premises, Frank Dolaghan chair of the Brain Injury Foundation said: “Centres like this are necessary as the biggest single issue facing survivors and their carers is loneliness. The Brain Injury Foundation differs from many charities in that it is user led. Almost all of the management committee are brain injury survivors or carers. In one sense this is the only place that is completely owned and directed by its service users, it really is ‘Our House’.”
Frank Hewitt, the Big Lottery Fund’s NI Chair, said: “It’s wonderful to see how the Brain Injury Foundation has transformed this building with funding from the Space & Place programme. People affected by brain injury and their families have been at the forefront of developing this project and we are looking forward to seeing the difference the new centre makes to them.”