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Edition 20 Spring 2019

Keeping you in touch with Aspire

In our first issue of 2019, we have many new developments to share with you, from our new Service, providing money advice, and a blog featuring stories from people living with Spinal Cord Injury, to our engrossing podcast which has interviews with staff, customers and other supporters of both Aspire and the Aspire Leisure Centre. We have also launched an online shop through which you can support Aspire by purchasing Aspire and Aspire Channel Swim branded clothing and bags. Aspire has now been helping spinal cord injured people for 35 years. Inside, you can read about the celebration we held in September to commemorate our anniversary and in the centre pages you can view our timeline depicting all that

Aspire has achieved since it was founded in 1983. To find out more about the many ways in which Aspire supports spinal cord injured people through our Services, including housing, assistive technology, welfare benefits and independent living, please go to We are looking forward to an amazing year of fundraising. If you, or your family and friends, would like to fundraise for Aspire please go to our website to find out the many opportunities available, from running and swimming to holding a bake sale or attending one of our Sports Quiz Dinners. Find out more at

35 years supporting people with spinal injury

Aspire celebrates 35 years of supporting people with Spinal Cord Injury Aspire has now been supporting people with spinal cord injuries for 35 years. A celebratory evening was held in September to mark the occasion and to say thank you to staff, supporters and the original founders of the charity. Awards were presented to particularly influential supporters including founding trustees, Candoco founder Celeste Dandeker, Aspire’s President John Inverdale, Sports Quiz Dinner question-setter Rob Nothman and former Chair Peter Stanford.

Brian Carlin, Aspire’s CEO, welcomed all the guests and said, “I am proud to be able to share the achievements of Aspire over the years. Our 35th anniversary is a time for reflection on what we’ve achieved and a time to be as energised as ever about the next 35 years. I’d like to thank all of the sponsors who fully funded the cost of the event, without whom it would not have been possible.”

at Aspire during her rehabilitation following elective amputation.

Fundraising and Marketing, tells us about his journey from an unhealthy lifestyle to taking on a variety of challenging endurance events.

Read more and see the photos at

New podcast Aspire Leisure Centre’s Manager, Dean Tearle, has launched a brand new podcast, available free on Apple, Google and Spotify. The podcast, which features interviews with charity and leisure centre staff, members and visitors, focuses on good news stories and how Aspire has helped people along the way. Listen to: • David Morphew, now a personal trainer at Aspire, tells his story from injury to working as an Aspire Independent Living Advisor and training through our InstructAbility Programme to become a fitness instructor. • Sandra Staffiero, a long time Aspire Leisure Centre member, talks about how she was introduced to the pool and gym

• Katie Duckworth, talks about the series of management workshops she has given to staff at Aspire and how her company works with charities. • Paul Parrish, Aspire’s Director of

If you would like to feature on an episode of the podcast and have an interesting story to tell please contact To find out how to listen go to aspire-leisure-centre-podcast

Living with Spinal Cord Injury equipment, how Joe travels the world and how David has continued with his passion for sport and fitness, not only personally but in his career as well. Read their stories at We have launched a new blog on our website called ‘Living with SCI’ which features spinal cord injured people talking about how they have been able to carry on with or develop new hobbies and interests since sustaining their injury. You can read about how Paul was able to continue gardening by adapting his


If you would like to submit your story please email

Welfare Benefits Advice helps Mark retain his independence


Dates for your diary Aspire Channel Swim 28th January to 22nd April Aspire Sports Quiz Dinner London 25th April Virgin Money London Marathon 28th April Henley Classic Swim 30th June Aspire Relay Channel/Solent Swims July to September

Mark was injured in a motorcycle accident when he was 27. He says, “I do remember thinking that I wouldn’t be able to cope... but I was wrong.” Mark contacted Aspire’s Welfare Benefits team because he needed help with the transition from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP). He says, “The team were extremely helpful and their assistance was invaluable all the way through. To be honest, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing as the PIP form was overwhelming. With Aspire’s help, I was awarded PIP at the Enhanced Rate for both the Daily Living and Mobility components.

“PIP enables me to be independent as it meets some of the extra costs my family needs. If we didn’t have this benefit it would affect the family unit because I sometimes have to have time off work due to my spinal cord injury. I have a Motability vehicle which I’m able to keep because I receive PIP. Losing it would be devastating, we would not be able to fund another vehicle and I would probably hardly ever leave the house.” Aspire’s Welfare Benefits Advice Service provides free advice and support to ensure spinal cord injured people receive whatever they are entitled to. If you need welfare benefits advice call 020 8420 6711 or go to

Aspire Loch Ness/Loch Lomond Swims July Prudential RideLondon cycle 4th August River Arun Swim 18th August Simplyhealth Great North Run 8th September Andrew Murray Pro Am golf day 9th September Aspire Channel Swim 9th September to 2nd December Aspire Sports Quiz Dinner Manchester 14th November For a full list of events go to




Neville gets connected with Your Fund by a teenager. He was transferred to the London Spinal Cord Injury Centre at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore in July and was finally able to return home in December. When he was first injured, a Your Fund was set up in his name so that money could be raised that would be available as and when Neville needs to purchase specialist equipment. So far he has been able to purchase an iPhone, Bluetooth headphones, some gloves from Active Hands and a vibration plate which he says “is brilliant because I can now do my workouts at home.” In May 2018 Neville, who has worked at the Aspire Leisure Centre for 25 years, was paralysed by a spinal cord injury when he was kicked off his bike

either for yourself or someone you know with a spinal cord injury. Disability is expensive. A Your Fund enables your friends and family to help pay for the costs of essential equipment or services by starting to fundraise even before you know exactly what you will need, ensuring the funds are there to use when you need them most. Raising money through an Aspire Your Fund rather than other crowdfunding options can boost your total by up to 25%.

To donate to Neville’s fundraising page:

A dedicated member of staff will work with you to help set up the fund and give you fundraising advice, to ensure you raise as much money as possible for Your Fund.

Your Fund is a simple way to raise money to purchase essential specialist equipment

To find out more about Your Fund:

Shop Aspire Law helps David and his and Aspire Channel Swim family buy an accessible bungalow Aspire branded clothing (vests, t-shirts and hoodies) for women, men and children, in a variety of colours, as well and achieve an income for life as tote bags and beanie hats, are now

“I was working as a warehouse operative and, whilst there, I helped lift a hydraulic ramp, which resulted in prolapsed discs in my lower spine. The final outcome resulted in me having a spinal stroke leaving me unable to walk. “I was looking for a solicitor and found Aspire Law. I thought it was just the perfect match. “We purchased the bungalow with the initial interim payment Aspire Law secured for us. We then went to London for mediation with the other parties, the result of which was a lump sum. This meant we were able to finish paying off the bungalow and were also able to kit it out according to the plans made by

the experts sent by Aspire Law, giving me and my family financial stability.

“My experience with Aspire Law has been brilliant all the way through. When they say an expert’s going to contact you that’s exactly what happens. They don’t mind you ringing up every five minutes or sending an email. I’d recommend Aspire Law because they are experts in their field of spinal cord injury. They have your back covered and your family’s back covered throughout the whole case.” Aspire Law is the only UK law firm dealing exclusively with Spinal Cord Injury claims, providing specialist expertise and, for personal injury claims, does not deduct any fees from the client’s compensation. Aspire Law shares 50% of its profits with Aspire to support people with spinal cord injury, allowing it to help those with spinal injury who have no claim to make for compensation. For more information about Aspire Law go to (other spinal injury claims specialists are available. We recommend thoroughly researching to meet your needs).


available to buy online. A percentage of all sales will go towards Aspire. To see the full range please go to aspire/branded-clothing

New Money Advice service In January we launched a new Money Advice service which offers free, impartial and confidential telephone advice to people with Spinal Cord Injury who are concerned about their debts and day-to-day budgeting needs. The step-by-step Money Advice process is designed to help individuals take back control of their finances. Following a spinal cord injury, financial circumstances often change dramatically, with loss of earnings, increased spending on equipment and lifestyle adjustments often coming at the same time as someone is trying to navigate the benefits system. Our personalised service includes a full financial assessment, budget planning, filling out forms, negotiating with creditors and ongoing support.

Richard Fraser, CEO, The Frenkel Topping Group, says, “We are delighted about the service that Aspire offers. When someone suffers a serious injury, the impact on that person and their family can be devastating, and coping with financial stress can be even more debilitating. The team at Aspire are very experienced in this area, and it’s important to have people around you that care and understand the issues during such a traumatic time.” Find out more at or call 020 8420 8960 to speak with our Money Advisor. Many thanks to The Frenkel Topping Group for their support which has made this service possible.

If you are concerned about your financial situation and are feeling stressed and unsure what steps to take, we can help you take back control of your finances.

Support Aspire Aspire Channel Swim We have recently launched the Aspire Channel Swim for the first time ever in January. Swim 22 miles in 12 weeks in your local pool to support people with Spinal Cord Injury. Sign up at Sports Quiz Dinners This year’s Sports Quiz Dinners will be held in London on 25th April and in Manchester on 14th November. Find out more at or call Sinead on 07766 136775 Open water swimming We now offer the opportunity to swim Loch Lomond as well as Loch Ness, the River Arun, the Solent and English Channel relay swims. Find the right swim for you at or speak to Andrew on 07825 740623 There are a wide variety of ways you or your friends and family can support Aspire, just go to

InstructAbility’s Wendy Hall: from spinal injury to fitness entrepreneur see a bit of the ‘old me’ returning, and gym members would speak to me like they did any other member of staff.

“Ten years ago I never imagined I would with Aspire, where I found out about be where I am today. In 2008, I had their great InstructAbility Programme moved into a new home with my partner, which provides fitness industry had plans to become a Paramedic and training for disabled people. I used went to the gym five times a week. to teach aerobics classes before my I never imagined that an accident accident and so the training for me would change my life overnight, then was a brilliant opportunity and helped one day I had a Vasovagal episode me to feel like the ‘old me’ again. which causes faint-like symptoms. “My InstructAbility training was hosted Unfortunately for me, this happened at Portway Lifestyle Centre and was the at the top of a full flight of stairs and first real challenge I had set my mind to I found myself at the bottom, unable since my injury. Following the training, I to move. I had broken my neck and had a 12 week work placement in a gym sustained a spinal cord injury. which I wanted to make work, whatever “When I eventually came home from that would take, so I shadowed the gym hospital, I started to look into what I staff, slowly building my confidence could do. In 2014, I started volunteering to be able to speak to people. I could

“I delivered inclusive one-to-one sessions for clients which became so popular I decided to develop a group exercise class that enables people of all abilities to work out together. Three years later, I run classes that are bigger than ever, with up to 20 participants in a single session. “I am determined to make all abilities be seen and heard in the gym and in classes. Everyone is different, even if they have the same injury or health condition. I have met some incredibly talented and motivated individuals who have positively thrived on the fact that they see me working in their gym, something they never thought would happen. I always said from that point on, that every gym should have a Wendy! The benefits are priceless… for them and for me.” If you are interested in applying for an InstructAbility course go to


Help us support people like Peter Last year we gave out over £75,000 in grants to help spinal cord injured people purchase essential equipment. Unfortunately we have recently had to close Aspire Grants to new applications whilst we clear the backlog from the overwhelming number of applications we’ve had recently. This ensures that people aren’t left waiting for funding. Peter was able to purchase a lightweight wheelchair thanks to Aspire Grants and says, “It has given me greater independence and completely changed my everyday life. “My injury was caused by a motor cycle accident in 2010, when I was 36. Before my injury, I was working full-time and owned my own business and my hobbies were clay pigeon shooting, working out in the gym and motorcycles. “My injury had a massive impact on my friends and family and everyone had their own ways of dealing with it. At the time, I didn’t realise the financial impact and that my family were helping to pay the mortgage and bills to keep me from drowning. “I heard about Aspire whilst I was in the Sheffield Spinal Injury Centre and was successful in my application for

part-funding from Aspire Grants for a wheelchair. However, over the years my physical needs changed and so a few years later I applied again for a new wheelchair. When I was told I had been successful, I was thoroughly relieved. It was brilliant news, as the wheelchair enables me to keep my independence. If Aspire had not been able to help me it would have been so hard as I would have had to put it on a credit card or raise the funds myself. My wife took on the Aspire Channel Swim last year to give something back to Aspire. “The wheelchair has a massive impact on my everyday life. It is lightweight which is brilliant for getting in and out of a car and is easier to control and manoeuvre. It has given me greater independence and enables me to take part in my new hobbies wheelchair rugby and target shooting.”

Your support helps people like Peter to live independently. Every person who applies to Aspire Grants needs help purchasing much-needed equipment to enable them to get on with their lives. A gift, of any size, could help transform not only the lives of someone with a spinal cord injury, but also their friends and family, and give them the independence that most of us take for granted.

Can you help us to provide spinally injured people with equipment that will give them back their independence?


If you would like to contribute, please complete the form below and return it, along with a cheque made out to Aspire, to: Fundraising, Aspire Leisure Centre, Wood Lane, Stanmore HA7 4AP. Alternatively, you can donate online at

I’d like to support Aspire

Please accept my gift of:




other: £

Title First Name Surname Address

Method of payment I enclose a cheque made payable to Aspire To pay by card please call Hannah on 020 8420 6731

Make your gift worth more at no extra cost Postcode Email

Please tick here if you would like to be kept informed of Aspire’s work via email and post. We will not pass on your details to any other organisation.

Boost your donation by 25p of Gift Aid for every £1 you donate Tick here for Gift Aid. I want to Gift Aid my donation and any donations I make in the future or have made in the past 4 years to Aspire. I am a UK taxpayer and understand that if I pay less Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all my donations in that tax year, it is my responsibility to pay any difference. Please let us know if your tax circumstances or name and address details change so that we can amend our records.

Fundraising, Aspire Leisure Centre, Wood Lane, Stanmore, HA7 4AP Call: 020 8954 5759 Email:

Please contact us for a large print (non-formatted) version of this newsletter. Association for Spinal Injury Research, Rehabilitation and Reintegration. Registered Company No. 3744357. Registered Charity No. 1075317. Scottish Registered Charity No. SC037482. Republic of Ireland Registered Charity Number 20150181

Supporting people with spinal injury

Profile for Laura Haynes

Aspirations Spring 2019  

Aspirations Spring 2019