2020 was the most challenging year in The Brain Charity's history, but the issues for our clients aren't new
We're in the middle of a global emergency. But sadly, many of the secondary issues brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic; such as social isolation, mental health issues and unemployment, are not new for our service users.
Throughout the pandemic, people with neurological conditions have remained some of the most vulnerable in our society, and in desperate need of support.
The Brain Charity finished 2020 having seen a rise of more than 50% in demand for our services compared to 2019. The rise in long COVID, the long-term mental health shockwaves of the pandemic and spike in unemployment means this is likely to increase further.
More people than ever need our help in these unprecedented times, and, with many of our usual fundraising avenues cancelled due to coronavirus, we are more in need of your help than ever. Please donate today.
What have we done during COVID-19?
When the COVID-19 pandemic first gripped the UK in March last year, The Brain Charitys dedicated staff and volunteers worked non-stop to keep our most needy clients safe at home.
Whether delivering meals on wheels, making supermarket trips, keeping gas meters topped up, picking up prescriptions or even taking pets to the vets, no job was too big or too small.
The hundreds of people we helped during this time include Ian, who has a rare neurological condition but couldn't get help with supermarket deliveries, and Phillip, who lost his job when the pandemic started and was suddenly left without any form of income. Both were surviving on next to nothing and at risk of going hungry.
Aside from the practical help our service users needed to get through the pandemic safely, we sought to safeguard as many peoples mental health as possible.
We extended provision for our free counselling appointments so more people could be seen, giving clients the option to have a video or telephone appointment if they would prefer and ensuring our building was COVID-safe for face-to-face appointments too.
We also launched a telephone befriending service to ensure anyone left socially isolated by coronavirus could hear a friendly voice at the end of the phone each week. This was invaluable to people like single mother Sonya who suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2017, and is currently used by nearly 50 people each week from all over the UK.
For many of our service users, The Brain Charity's regular social events were the highlight of their week; the chance to meet in a safe, welcoming space free from judgement and discrimination. Moving these online has allowed us to offer people with neurological conditions from all over the UK inventive ways to stay connected.
And throughout the pandemic, all our mainstream services, such as our info officers, who provide vital advice on topics such as living with a condition to newly-diagnosed individuals, our carers advocacy team and our specific projects for children, the unemployed and people living with dementia, have continued to run remotely.
What will your donation fund?
£3 gives someone with a neurological condition the chance to speak to people facing a similar situation at one of our virtual coffee mornings.
£5 lets a socially isolated individual to attend one of our weekly online activities, such as craft club, neuro-pilates or dance.
£10 pays for someone with a neurological condition to attend a life-changing group therapy session.
£20 pays for our expert info team to provide an hour of advice on topics such as living with a rare condition or applying for welfare benefits.
£50 provides two sessions of vital one-to-one counselling for someone struggling with their mental health.
£100 lets us be there for patients as soon as they are diagnosed, by funding two hours of hospital-based support.
At least 83p in every £1 donated to The Brain Charity directly funds our front line services.