UK spinal cord injury charities have a long history of working together, sharing ideas and information and undertaking joint projects. Aspire and Back Up have been working together in an enhanced partnership since 2014. We do so because we believe together we can provide even better support for people affected by spinal cord injury. The same was true then, and it is still now.

I’ve written this blog to let you know a few ways that we work together

  1. Sharing of registrations

Anyone who registers their details with Aspire (for using their services) will be asked if they are happy for these to be shared with us at Back Up, and vice versa. These details are collated monthly and shared between us. For those who say yes to sharing their information with us, a welcome email will be sent explaining Back Up’s services. They will also receive our monthly newsletter, which gives even greater insight as to the work we do as a charity and the different support we offer for people affected by a spinal cord injury.

This partnership is a two way street. We actively share this information between us because we provide different services that are complementary to each other. Back Up, for example, does not provide housing support like Aspire does, but we do offer life-changing courses that can help build confidence and independence when living with Spinal Cord Injury. What this means is that the person can access the quality, tailored support and vital services they need whether they contact either charity.

  1. Improved knowledge of each other’s services

Over the past six years we’ve been making a joint effort to know one another’s services better, and understand how we can complement each other further in what we offer. As a result, we are able to signpost people to the right person in each charity.

At Back Up we may not offer a welfare benefits service, but if you were to call our Outreach and Support team any one of us will be able to provide you with an overview of Aspire’s Welfare Benefits Advice Service. We would also offer a pro-active referral so that it is down to the charity to make contact with you, not the other way round.  

  1. Working more closely during COVID-19 to provide support for patients

Unfortunately we can’t ignore the Covid-19 pandemic, it has completely turned the world upside down. Sadly since March visitations to the 11 Spinal Injury Centres in the UK have been limited or not possible at all because of restrictions imposed to ensure the safety of all patients, staff and volunteers. Both charities rely heavily on face to face interaction to meet with patients, build trust and to ensure suitable follow up support. Being unable to do this has created a new challenge for us, but has actually seen us working more closely than ever before. Together we’ve been delivering virtual peer support sessions so that we can continue to meet as many newly injured individuals as possible.

Adjusting to Spinal Cord Injury can be overwhelming. People can often feel isolated and alone, and this has been exaggerated further by the Covid-19 pandemic. At Back Up we know that peer support can positively influence the adjustment process of living with Spinal Cord Injury. Our virtual sessions with Aspire offer the chance for patients to talk to each other, ask questions and learn from those who have been there. We also explain in greater detail the wide range of support offered by both of us. We’re hopeful to resume our face-to-face services soon, but we are working hard together to ensure that we can be there for those newly injured at this time. 

We work in partnership because we share the same idea that together we can better meet the needs of people affected by Spinal Cord Injury, and we look forward to many more years of close collaboration. Get in touch­­­­ to learn more about Back Up’s services – and be sure to let us know if you found out about us from our friends at Aspire!

- written by Andy Adamson, Back Up’s Outreach and Support Manager

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