What assistance is there to people who have spinal cord injuries (SCI)?

The Spinal Injuries Association is a national charity for assisting people with spinal cord injuries, and they aim to provide a pathway of support by being there for a newly injured person and supporting them throughout their life. Services are provided by spinal cord injured people, all of whom can offer their lived experiences of spinal cord injury. Their helpline (0800 980 0501) can provide general information, telephone counselling, an advocacy service and they also run a peer-advice service at the Spinal Injuries Centre in Southport.

Aspire offer services to new patients in the NHS Spinal Cord Injury Centres, to those who have just been discharged from hospital and to people who have been living with their injuries for years. Aspire’s primary aim is to help people live independently, and can offer grants to people to buy equipment, short-term housing and an Independent Living Adviser service.

The Back Up Trust is a charity that helps people transform their lives after spinal cord injuries by providing a telephone support service (020 8875 1805), a mentoring scheme, training (e.g. how to use a wheelchair) and activity courses, as well as help and support in getting back to work/education after an injury.

The Brain and Spine Foundation is a charity that helps people affected by brain and spine conditions. Their helpline (0808 808 1000) is run by neuroscience nurses and offers information and support on any medical or related social/emotion issues of concern. See also: International Spinal Cord Society.

Spina Bifida
ASBAH (Association for Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus) is a community of 75,000 individuals, families, friends and professionals sharing achievements, challenges and information on living with hydrocephalus, spina bifida and related issues. They have an area adviser service, a helpline (0845 450 7755) and lots of general information on their website. The nearest local branch to St Helens operates from Warrington.

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)
Jennifer Trust is a national charity that provide a range of information and support to families and professionals who would like to know more about spinal muscular atrophy. They run a helpline (0800 975 3100) for those newly diagnosed or in crisis, an outreach service that visits families to offer personalised support, and also peer support, a befriending service and social activities/events.