From 2015 to 2018 the Big Lottery Fund (Now the National Lottery Community Fund) supported us to help ABI survivors live more satisfying lives. We also reached out to people who care for someone with an ABI, their loved ones and family, because we know that they need support to come to terms with the new situation they find themselves in.
We are really proud of all that we achieved during the course of this project.
Our varied activities
- Museum and science attraction visits
- Creative writing classes, with a storytelling session at the end of each cohort
- Ukulele classes, including a concert at the end of each set of sessions
- Conversation classes for people with communication difficulties
- Interview training sessions for people who are looking to return to work
- Employment courses for people looking to build the skills needed to return to work
- Law courses to support people in building knowledge of their rights
- Mental Health First Aid training for people living with people with an ABI
- Physiotherapy sessions
- Tai Chi lecture and subsequent sessions
- Mindfulness sessions, including a comprehensive study into the effectiveness of mindfulness as an intervention for people with an ABI
- Subbuteo sessions, including a world cup event with an awards ceremony
- Lectures and Q&A sessions with experts in relevant fields for people with an ABI and their families
- Carer sessions to support coping
- Carer lectures to inform carers about brain injury and some common challenges that people face
Employment and personal development outcomes
Our funder obviously wanted to know whether what we did thanks to their grant was having a beneficial impact. An important part of the project was related to vocational direction and enabling ABI survivors to find satisfaction through meaningful paid or voluntary employment. This is why we evaluated how our beneficiaries felt about their:
- Ability to identify and appraise life chances
- New workplace related skills
- Ability to carry out necessary actions to find a job
But not everyone with an ABI, and particularly those with a more severe injury and repercussions, is ready to get back to the workplace so we also wanted to find out whether we had helped with ‘soft’ outcomes, improving:
- self esteem
- Direction drive
- Peer support networks
We measured these using metrics which have been developed in research and clinical settings including General Self-Efficacy (GSE), Rosenberg Self-Esteem (RSE), and QuOLiBrI (Quality Of Life after Brain Injury) scales.
From our conversations over the years with people with an ABI, we know one area that can suffer in the ‘new reality’ post-injury is personal relationships and sense of self. We believe it’s really important not just to focus on employment as an outcome, but to care for the whole people that we help. This holistic approach means that we provide more than just goal-oriented support, we also offer social activities like the ones I listed at the top. We wanted to understand more about whether our beneficiaries felt better after participation in these areas:
- increased sense of fulfillment in their personal life
- improved perception of self
- increased satisfaction with the support their social relationships give them
Helping carers and loved ones
The importance of the people around an ABI survivor cannot be overemphasised in recovery post brain injury. Caring for the carers is another way to help someone with a brain injury. Over the years, carers have told us about how confused they are and how little they understand what has happened to their loved one. They often feel horribly isolated. We asked carers to tell us whether they felt:
- better supported to cope with the demands of their role
- less stressed and with improved access to peer support
- better able to engage with and support ABI survivors
Exceeding our targets
For those of you who might be interested, here are some more detailed findings:
People with an ABI will report an increased ability to identify and appraise life chances
225 ABI survivors
Through completing initial assessments, and personal development plans (PDP’s), 293 (73%) people feel better able to appraise the life chances available to them after receiving support in this project
People with an ABI will have new workplace related skills
180 ABI survivors
Through attending mock interviews, work preparation sessions and courses, conversation / language classes, as well as targeted skills days – 349 people have new workplace skills as a direct result of this project.
People with an ABI will report an increase in ability to carry out necessary actions to find a job
225 ABI survivors
In total 416 (77%) attendees from the work preparation courses, targeted training days, the open job club, the employment programme, as well as those supported through initial and follow up meetings, as well as volunteering initiatives reported an increased ability to find and apply for jobs.
People with ABI will report improved confidence and self-esteem
240 ABI survivors
As measured by the General Self-Efficacy (GSE) and Rosenberg Self-Esteem (RSE) scales, out of 356 people asked, 260 (73%) people reported improved confidence across the duration of this project, with 245 (69%) reporting improved self-esteem. 221 (62%) people reported an improvement in both measures.
People with ABI will report improved direction, drive and wellbeing
75 ABI survivors
Through follow-ups discussions with our beneficiaries who had completed initial goal-setting plans, 232/267 (87%) people reported having improved direction and drive (motivation), with 195/267 (73%) reporting an increase in wellbeing (as measured by QuOLiBrI).
People with ABI will report improved peer support networks
180 ABI survivors
Through attending the programmes and social activities, 314 people have reported improved peer support.
People with severe ABI will report an increased sense of fulfillment in their personal life
150 ABI survivors
Through being supported by this project, 242 people have reported an increased sense of fulfillment in their personal life.
People with severe ABI will report an improved perception of self
150 ABI survivors
Perception of self, as measured by the General Self-Efficacy (GSE) and Rosenberg Self-Esteem (RSE) scales, has improved for 158 people with a severe ABI across the duration of the project.
People with severe ABI will report increased satisfaction with the support their social relationships give them
150 ABI survivors
Through engaging with the project services, and particularly through participating in events, 224 people with a severe ABI have reported increased social satisfaction over the project’s duration.
Carers will report that they are better supported to cope with the demands of their role
Through the Carers Lectures, Carer Sessions, and Ongoing Peer Support Groups, 172 Carers (91%) reported that they now feel better able to cope with the demands of their role.
Carers will report they are less stressed and have improved access to peer support
165 carers reported that they were less stressed and had increased access to peer support, with the user-led groups being critical to this. Qualitative data highlighted the importance of having this forum to share issues.
Carers will report they are better able to engage with and support ABI survivors
162 carers reported that they are better able to engage with and support ABI survivors.