This is the latest edition our brand new “What we learned this Month…..” newsletter in which we intend to open the doors of Oxford Head Injury Services so you can take a look inside and see what we have been up to, we hope you enjoy them and look forward to hearing about what you think about Oxford Head Injury Services
Oxford Head Injury Services looks to the future
The last few months have been tumultuous and uncertain ones for all of us awaiting where the axe of Oxfordshire County Council cuts would fall and what effect that would have on the essential vital services that many vulnerable people in Oxfordshire rely on.
The last minute cash injection from central Goverment is to be welcomed, but in reality this mere window dressing exercise will do little to alleviate the devastating effects the cuts will have.
Here is Jamie Miller our CEO and his thoughts on recent events
“Speaking as an organisation that doesn’t really sit in any one funding camp (and in fact as a condition Acquired Brain Injury is very much under served and under recognised by commissioners both nationally and locally) I am happy that some consideration has been given by councillors to the need to slow down the cuts and allow individuals and the voluntary sector some breathing space. However, in reality the cuts still remain and I would have far rather have seen an all out “NO” vote that sends a clear message to the Government, that these cuts remain immoral, undemocratic and unachievable.
I would like to offer my personal thanks to all those that stood before the council and relayed the truth so eloquently. This fight is by no means over and we will need to muster the full understanding and support of Oxfordshire’s voting public if we are to really achieve the moral victory that is so imperative for our communities and the most vulnerable within them.”
Oxford Head Injury Services as a founder member of the Enough is Enough group and will continue to robustly oppose these cruel and economical short sighted cuts.
But our firm commitment has always been that the service we offer to our members is so vital and the effect on the community of it disappearing is something we could not allow to happen.
So with that in mind we are planning for the post cut future, to not only continue to serve our community but to expand and strengthen our services.
A small but never the less significant symbol of this commitment is our brand new website where you are reading this newsletter.
The next and more significant symbol will one in bricks and mortar, soon we will be sharing with you exciting plans to refurb and improve our Activity and Rehabilitation Center in Kennington which we are now delighted to be the sole owner of.
So join us at Oxford Head Injury Services on this journey, with your continuing support the road is sure to be straight and even.
Voices are raised are raised for Oxford Head Injury Services at the Oxford Orpheus
“My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary” Martin Luther
This year marks the 10th Anniversary of an event that has very quickly become a cornerstone of the musical year in Oxford.
The Oxford Orpheus is an inspiring celebration of the power of music and the sheer soulful joy of communal singing.
Every year it draws singers and musicians from far and wide to Oxford to rehearse and perform a choral concert all in one day. The aim has always being the same to raise money for a local charity through the participants shared passion for beautiful music.
To this end all the singers in the choir pay for the privilege to sing with the Orchestra and professional soloists.
We where delighted when Leo Pitt the wonderfully enthusiastic Artistic Administrator approached us to be the chosen Charity for the 10th Anniversary concert.
We are especially excited to be involved with the Oxford Orpheus. Singing and music workshops form a large part of our activities. Serious head injuries can often have hugely detrimental effects on things we all take for granted, our ability to speak and string sentences together or the loss of cherished memories. The primal joy of communal song and music can often be an incredibly useful tool in our member’s rehabilitation. It is not uncommon for a person affected by speech issues to regain the ability to sing before that of speech, such is the power of music.
“Where Words Fail, Music Speaks” Hans Christian Anderson
This years concert took place on Saturday 6th February in the stunning setting of the main hall of Oxford Town Hall. The massed choir and orchestra performed the profoundly moving Messa da Requiem by Giuseppe Verdi.
“I adore art…when I am alone with my notes, my heart pounds and the tears stream from my eyes, and my emotion and my joys are too much to bear.” Giuseppe Verdi
Accompanying the Orchestra where the soloists Soprano Hye-Youn Lee, Mezzo-Soprano Olivia Ray, Tenor Lawrence Thackery and Bass David Ireland.
The highly acclaimed former Artistic Director of the Scottish Opera and the Philharmonia Chorus in London Robert Dean was the events Artistic Director and Conductor. Robert Dean is a Oxford Orpheus regular and his skills as both a Conductor and Teacher are widely seen as a huge factor in the events enduring appeal.
Our CEO Jamie Miller spoke to the audience before the concert commenced about the work of Oxford Head Injury Services to thank all those all involved in producing the evening.
A magnificent £5500 was raised for Oxford Head Injury Services, from the tickets sales, and the amazing generosity of those who purchased the programme and contributed to the bucket collection at the end of the evening.
We are absolutely delighted to announce that we have been chosen to be the Oxford Orpheus 2017 charity partner and are already planning for next year.
Headway fundraiser Andy Baker kicks off 2016
Long standing Headway Member and fundraiser Andy Baker kicks off 2016 in fine style with two fabulous fundraising events for Oxford Head Injury Services, for more information and find our more about all the fantastic work Andy’s Play2Give charity does go here
A.R.C Activites in February
Our Mindfulness and Yoga sessions are proving to be very popular, with several members telling us they are practicing the techniques at home to help them deal with their disability and stress.
The centre has been full of laughter and learning with our Cognitive Therapy sessions, the members have been busy constructing Giraffes with cardboard and sellotape, as well as being a lot of fun, the activity is great for team building, memory retention, motor control and sparking their creative imagination.
Our Drama Therapy sessions continue to be very popular, the members are invited to draw their Mind map hands listing the places people and interests that are unique to them. The exercise helps with them with memory retention issues.
Polly’s Top Tips for Falls Prevention
This month Polly Archer one of our Community Support Workers started running our Occupational Therapy sessions looking at Falls and how to avoid or prevent a slip, trip or fall at home and when out and about.
Members took part in an hour long session to identify previous patterns of behaviour that may have led them to fall in the past before moving on to work in groups or 1:1 to establish potential strategies and solutions that may be of use to them and other people in a similar situation in the future.
Centre staff were also able to encourage clients to consider their daily routine and activities of daily living so that they may specify problems in their own lives on order to help others. The ideas from each group were then displayed in the centre so that everyone could benefit from the diverse and useful strategies that each different day identified.
The Top 5 difficulties and solutions that were highlighted by each day were
- Be aware of your surroundings when you are indoors- are there table in the way or spare wires or boxes that may trip you up? If so Move them or have a clear out!
- When going from room to room don’t rush: always plan your route to the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom lounge, front door before you move. Is the route clear and is the dog out from under your feet?
- If you feel dizzy and light headed when you stand up is your medication correct or is something else going on? Check in with your GP to check up on your meds!
- When out and about do you have the correct footwear and assistive equipment? If not the community therapy teams may be able to help you, ask your support worker for more information about a referral if you are not sure.
- At Night do you stumble to the bathroom in the dark for fear of waking up your partner with the bedside lamp? If so plan and clear the route before you go to bed and see below for our handy hint suggestions for your hallways to light your way
Two of our service users are demonstrating that they are benefiting from the physiotherapy they do at the centre and are making very good progress with their physical strength by standing and walking for much longer periods.
Also two of our members have also shown a noticeable improvement in their speech, thanks to the hard work done by them and the centre staff, following assessment and sessions with Speech and Language Therapists.
Coming soon at the A.R.C
Places are still available if you wish to attend our Carers advice evenings, these evenings are for carers, friends and family members who are new to acquired and traumatic brain injury, and would like more information.
We also will let you know the services and support we can offer you and you will have the chance to meet fellow carers and swap stories and experiences.
Both evenings and free to attend and will take place at our center in Kennington from 7.00-8.30 pm on Tuesday 8th March and Tuesday 12th April.
If you would like to attend please phone 01865 326 263 and ask to speak to Emma or Polly
In March we plan to introduce community singing and music sessions, and start a memory course 3 days a week. We will let you know how these are going in the next ‘What we learned this month’ newsletter
A quick thank-you
Just a quick mention of something we forgot to include in last month’s newsletter.
Just before Christmas along with the members we spent a wonderful day at Bicester Garden Center, to get inspiration for and pick up some decorations to bring back to the A.R.C.
We also had a sumptuous Christmas lunch at their restaurant, the staff couldn’t have been kinder to us especially when they swapped Viv Martin’s Christmas pudding for a fine example of her favourite treat a Chocolate Eclair!
As you can see from this picture, Viv is a big fan of the Chocolate Eclair!
Now that Spring is on it’s way, it’s important that we all take advantage of the hopefully warmer and sunnier weather. Here at Oxford Head Injury Services we like to set a good example so here are two of our senior carers Iggy and Dude taking advantage of some early spring sunshine!