Northampton brain injury charity fear end is in sight without formal funding in face of cuts

Headway Northampton provide support for adults who have sustained brain injuries. But they fear they could be gone within two years.
Headway Northampton provide support for adults who have sustained brain injuries. But they fear they could be gone within two years.

A Northampton charity supporting adults with brain injuries fear they "won't be here in two years" without funding.

Headway Northampton run a large day centre in Kings Heath where they help people who have sustained brain damage learn to live with their injuries.

But after losing out on grants and bearing the brunt of the county council's financial crisis, they now fear they will fold in as little as two years - and think other healthcare charities will follow.

Debbie Fitzgerald, assistant manager of client welfare, said: "We don't want to stop being there on the end of the phone. We want people to know where they can go when they need help.

"The Government need to recognise that they must free up funding for disabled people and people with mental health issues across the board."

The centre offers support to more than 75 people a week and helped over 1,000 in 2017.

They help families and clients come to terms with brain injuries, and raise awareness that many injuries are not visible or properly recognised as a disability.

Up until 2015, they were supported by a £60,000 health grant indirectly from the county council. They also relied on the local authority to carry out needs assessments so Headway could step in.

But formal funding for the healthcare charity dried up three years ago - yet they say they still have "dozens" of people waiting for their help.

Debbie said: "All of a sudden we were told to find ways to be independent and generate the income for ourselves.

"We have people waiting to come into our service that are still waiting for their assessment, which have slowed right down thanks to the cuts.

"We're inundated. Even something as sending out a brochure costs money. I think realistically if we don't get some formal funding we won't be around in two years time."

Theresa Brown is the wife of one user, who said: "My husband has been with Headway for 21 years. Without Headway I would have never had coped. They support the whole family. There is nothing else out there for these people. I find it's like an extended family."

For more information on Headway Northampton, visit their website.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “Northamptonshire has been facing unprecedented demand for local services, rapid population growth and reducing levels of funding from central government, creating a severe financial challenge. We have had no choice but to make the difficult decision to review funding of all non-statutory services, including payments to voluntary groups and organisations.

"While we don’t give money directly to charities we did have a contract with the Northamptonshire Community Foundation. This organisation receives money from various sources (and from us until recently) and the voluntary sector receives grants from them."