Hull Raspberry Jam is transforming the way we learn about computers
Hull Raspberry Jam strives to build a community around programming and digital-making in the city.
Read about the local charity that strives to drum up more awareness around brain injuries, as well as support those recovering from brain damage.
Paul Spence, who founded the charity PAUL For Brain Recovery, has recently been recognised for his dedication and hard work in the KCOM van naming initiative . His name can be seen on one of the KCOM vans making its way around the city, alongside Sir Thomas Ferens, Philip Larkin, William Wilberforce, Amy Johnson and The Bee Lady.
We spoke with him to find out more about his charity’s fantastic work.
Can you tell us a bit about PAUL For Brain Recovery?
We support anyone with an acquired brain injury. This means brain damage caused by events after birth, rather than as part of a genetic disorder; conditions such as traumatic brain injuries, Arteriovenous Malformation, tumours, strokes, haemorrhage, Meningitis and concussion.
These people can access our range of services and are appointed a support package that is tailored to their needs. These packages include one-to-one support, family support group sessions, social events, financial support and funding, and education and advice on lifestyle choices to aid brain recovery.
What made you set up PAUL For Brain Recovery?
In 2012, I was attacked without provocation whilst out with friends and family. This resulted in me suffering a frontal lobe brain injury, which absolutely blew my life to pieces on every level you can imagine.
I was told that it would take two to three years to recover from and that I would never be the same again after such an injury.
Two years later and my condition had improved immensely and I started to want to give something back.
Hull Royal Infirmary had been fantastic with their support, so we did some fundraising and raised £25,000. However, we quickly realised that there was a lack of community support or anywhere to go where you could chat with people who had been in your shoes.
It was also around this time that I decided to create a timeline of my recovery in order to raise awareness and understanding of brain injuries. It took me months to put together and piece my life back together, but I really wanted to shed some light on the situation.
I published it all on a Facebook page and it instantly got a lot of attention – there were so many people messaging me, asking me to go and visit relatives. There was clearly a big demand for support.
From here, I spoke with the NHS and decided to set up a registered charity to serve the people. My vision was a centre where people could access support.
And you opened the doors in 2016?
Yes, we managed to get a spot at the Wilberforce Health Centre.
Because we are all unique, every brain injury presents different challenges. This is why there were so many people coming to us with a lot of different struggles. Thankfully, with the help and support of my team, we’ve been able to help these people.
How can people support the charity?
People can fundraise for us and donate money like they would do any charity, but they can also volunteer. Everything can be accessed via our website if you wish to find out more about these opportunities.
We’re going to be releasing a single very soon, with all proceeds going towards the charity. This is going to be accompanied by a video created by Eon Visual Media and it’s all about standing together and giving a real insight into the journey of recovery.
What’s next for you?
We’re heading to the Houses of Parliament very soon to lobby for a better understanding of brain injury with the United Kingdom Acquired Brain Injury Forum (UKABIF). I’ll also be speaking at a conference in June in London about the work we do, hoping to inspire other communities to do the same.
We want to develop the service in Hull and one day take it elsewhere to make a real change across the country.
Find out more about PAUL For Brain Recovery at www.paulforbrainrecovery.co.uk/