A charity which offers rehabilitation and support for people suffering from brain injuries celebrated its 30th anniversary with a picnic.
Headway East Sussex, based in Newick and previously at Hurstwood Park Neurological Centre in Haywards Heath, was founded by five Sussex families.
They recognised that there were no specialist local services available where brain injury was understood, or where long-term support was available.
The picnic was held last Wednesday (July 18), for all clients, their loved ones, volunteers and staff.
Pam Marks, one of the founders, whose husband suffered a brain injury, said: “We started as a support group. This soon grew to about three to four separate groups. We soon realised we needed a day centre where our loved ones could be cared for and support could be provided for carers.
“Over the 30 years, Headway East Sussex has gone from helping five families to helping thousands of brain injury survivors and their loved ones. I am delighted with what it has achieved. It is everything I hoped for.”
Many survivors talked about how they felt ‘accepted’ by the charity and how the ‘dedicated staff and volunteers understood what they were going through’.
Natalie Corrigan, from Crawley, said: “When I’m at Headway East Sussex, I don’t have to explain and I don’t have to worry that the people I’m talking to are prejudging me. I feel welcomed, I feel loved. It’s a relief.”
In East Sussex, there are 3,000 new hospital admissions each year for brain injury and Headway East Sussex receives in excess of 150 new enquiries per year.
It needs to fundraise £100,000 per year to provide its services.
Injuries to the brain are typically caused by strokes, tumours, accidents through sport or at work, road traffic accidents or by assault.