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Aspire Independent Living Advice to help you get on with life


Every eight hours in the UK someone is paralysed by a spinal cord injury. Incurring a spinal cord injury can happen to anyone, at any time. It can be life changing, but you can still lead a full and rewarding life. Aspire provides practical help to people who have been paralysed by a spinal cord injury. Since 1982 we have worked with thousands of people throughout the UK and Ireland, providing practical support to take them from injury to independence. We provide a number of services for people and families affected by spinal cord injury. This brochure explains how you can benefit from the Aspire Independent Living Advice programme.


About Aspire Every eight hours in the UK, someone is paralysed by a spinal cord injury. Aspire is a national charity that works with people who have been paralysed, providing practical support and advice to help them regain their independence.

preparation of evidence for appeals. Aspire’s head office is the Aspire Leisure Centre (ALC) in Stanmore, Middlesex. The ALC is a leading innovator in accessible and inclusive fitness and sporting activities.

Aspire is here to help:

Many of our British Paralympians and Aspire Grants provides funds to assist with national squads train at the ALC and it the purchase of much needed equipment, was one of the training venues for the 2012 London Paralympics. giving those with spinal injuries the independence most of us take for granted. Our research at the Aspire Centre We provide a number of specially adapted for Disability Sciences has led to Houses, which serve as accommodation groundbreaking work on relief of pressure sores, fertility services and the for patients newly discharged from development of technologies which can hospital while permanent, accessible greatly assist independent living. accommodation is being arranged. We also have a Housing Case Manager who Through our Campaigning we have provides a dedicated telephone support developed strong links with Westminster, service that can help you tackle a wide Whitehall and the media on a range of range of housing issues. important issues including wheelchair provision and accessible housing. We Aspire’s Independent Living Advisors continue to act as advocates for positive give practical support to people by change and improvement in these and sharing advice on how to live a more independent life. We work with patients other areas. in Spinal Injury Centres around the Aspire receives no statutory funding and country, providing accurate information we couldn’t provide practical help to and signposting them and their families people with Spinal Cord Injury without to the best services for their needs. the enormous generosity of our friends Aspire also provides Assistive Technology and supporters. We run a number of exciting fundraising activities throughout facilities at Spinal Injury Centres, which help people to use computers, tablets and the year so there are many opportunities smartphones, regardless of their level of for friends and families to get involved. injury. Please see the other brochures in this Our free Welfare Benefits Advice Service series for further information about our services: Aspire Grants, Aspire Housing provides advice and support, help with and Aspire Assistive Technology. completing forms and applications, and

“Our Independent Living Advisors are there to help; they provide a listening ear and practical advice on any concern you may have so that you can enjoy independence as soon as possible.”


About Independent Living Advice When you are in a Spinal Injury Centre you will undoubtedly get a lot of information from the specialist staff. While this advice is essential, it is also a lot to absorb and the whole situation can feel overwhelming.

“Each Spinal Injury Centre has a dedicated Independent Living Advisor and they visit weekly to offer help and advice.”

Aspire has a working partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions and our Independent Living Advisors can signpost you to a Benefits Advisor who will come and talk to you about all the benefits you and your family may be entitled to. They will also help you fill out forms and track the progress of any claims.

If you’ve left hospital, it can sometimes be difficult to know how changes to the welfare benefits system will affect Our Independent Living Advisors all have you, and whether you are claiming for a spinal cord injury themselves and have all that you are entitled to. Our free, first hand knowledge of many of the issues dedicated Welfare Benefits Advice Service that you, as a new patient, are facing. is available to support you with expert Each Spinal Injury Centre has a dedicated advice, help in completing forms and Independent Living Advisor and they visit applications, and preparation of evidence weekly to offer help and advice. for appeals. Call 020 8420 6711 to talk to We know that sooner or later you’ll need our Advisor. to think about issues such as accessible The Aspire “It’s My Life” books are housing, finance, equipment and possibly collections of stories by people affected continuing care. The sooner these by spinal cord injuries. You can ask your issues are addressed, the better. Our Independent Living Advisor for your free Independent Living Advisors are there copies or contact our Independent Living to help; they provide a listening ear and Manager on 020 8420 6735. practical advice on any concern you may have so that you can enjoy independence The Advisors are known to all the key staff in the Spinal Injury Centre and you as soon as possible. They will also direct you to other organisations or services that can ask a member of your Goal Planning Team to put you in touch with them. can help you with your specific needs.


Barry’s Story I had a motorcycle accident which left me paralysed; I was going through my rehab and was having a few issues that I couldn’t quite get my head around. The staff at the Spinal Injuries Centre suggested I speak with the Aspire Independent Living Advisor, Paul. It was really easy to talk to Paul about all manner of things and he made me feel like my concerns were really important to him. He was able to answer most of my questions directly, but where he didn’t know the answer he would find out the information and point me to the services that could help.

Paul put me in touch with Aspire’s Housing Manager, who helped me to find an accessible property to live in whilst adaptations were being made to my own home. Paul also referred me to an Aspire Assistive Technology volunteer who helped me to access the computer, allowing me to do all my banking as well as keeping in touch with friends and family.

Things just wouldn’t be as they are now if it wasn’t for Paul’s help and guidance. When you are newly injured you are overwhelmed with all that is going on, but Paul was always there when I needed him. He really got me I needed advice on a range of issues, from my new housing through the tough times and showed me that life still needs to how to manage my finances whilst I was in hospital. goes on, it’s just a bit different now.

Craig’s Story Craig was a very active teenager who, by the age of 17, had started a career in a roofing firm, achieved his black belt in Karate and learnt to drive. In 1982, shortly after buying his first car, he had an accident at work and fell 30 feet from a roof which resulted in a T12 incomplete spinal injury. Craig has a very close family, with extended family members living on the same street. However, his accident had a devastating effect on the family and it took some time before they all completely came to terms with Craig’s injury. Craig is now an adult living in his own home, but he struggles with low moods and finds completing forms overwhelming. Having originally been awarded Disability Living Allowance (DLA) indefinitely, due to a change in his condition he decided to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). His mother, Anita, read about Aspire’s Welfare Benefits Service in their Aspirations magazine and decided to ask for assistance in completing the form.

Anita says, “Aspire’s help was amazing. Before contacting the Service, Craig and I were very worried, especially since Craig sustained his injury over 30 years ago. The PIP form is very long and it is difficult to remember everything that should be included. I called the Service many times and the whole process was explained and my questions were always answered. I was provided with all the information I needed to feel confident to complete the form with Craig, and I was reassured about what to expect with his health assessment. I would definitely recommend this Service to anyone struggling with benefits. It is fantastic.” Craig was awarded the Enhanced rate for both the Daily Living and Mobility components of PIP, an annual amount of £7,267, as well as a one-off backdated payment of £369. Craig’s life would be very difficult if he did not receive PIP payments as he requires a lot of help with his personal care needs, but does everything he can to remain as independent as possible. The Mobility payments enable him to have his car, which he relies on to be independent.


FAQs How can you help me? Initially we might just let you know about Aspire’s other services and how you can access them. Beyond that we can advise you on any number of areas, such as accessible housing, Motability, going on holiday and access to sports and leisure. We can also signpost you to appropriate services for benefits advice and, where we may not have an answer, we will talk to the people who do on your behalf. At what stage in my rehabilitation can I access an Independent Living Advisor? As soon as possible; please speak to a nurse or a member of your Goal Planning Team who will put you in touch with an Advisor. The Independent Living Advisors visit the Spinal Injury Centres every week so ask the ward staff which days they are in and make an appointment for an informal chat. Can a family member be with me when I meet the Independent Living Advisor? Yes, absolutely.

“We can advise you on a number of areas, such as accessible housing, Motability, going on holiday and access to sports and leisure.”

How do I get a copy of the It’s My Life books? To get your free copy of the Aspire books, just ask your Independent Living Advisor or call our Independent Living Manager on 020 8420 6735. How else can Aspire help me? The full range of Aspire Services are there to provide help and support when you need them; the other brochures in this series give further information about what is available: Aspire Grants, Aspire Housing, Assistive Technology, Aspire Guide to Legal Services and Welfare Benefits Support. Additionally, Aspire has partnered with Back Up, another charity with a range of great services that are available to spinally injured people. Aspire can make a referral on your behalf to Back Up, or you can see everything they have to offer at www.backuptrust.org.uk.

How can Back Up help me? Back Up understand that a spinal cord injury can be devastating, but they believe it shouldn’t prevent anyone getting the most How can you help me with understanding out of life. Their services include mentoring, what benefits I am entitled to? wheelchair skills training and activity courses As we have a working relationship with the as well as support in getting back to work Department for Work and Pensions, we can or school after an injury. All their services signpost you to a Benefits Advisor who will help to build confidence and independence advise you on what benefits you and your and provide a supportive network of people family may be eligible for and help you with who understand. They can help you get your form filling. life back and achieve your goals – whether If you have left hospital, our dedicated Welfare these are about family, work, lifestyle, social life, travel, or simply to feel positive about Benefits Advice Service is there to help. Call 020 8420 6711 to speak to our Advisor. the future. Can you help me even when I have left the Spinal Injury Centre? Yes, of course. We will continue to help you towards gaining your independence, even once you have been discharged.


How to contact us? Service Aspire Housing Aspire Grants Aspire Independent Living Aspire Assistive Technology Aspire Welfare Benefits Advice

Telephone 020 8420 8950 020 8420 6707 020 8420 6735 020 8420 6732 020 8420 6711

Email housing@aspire.org.uk grants@aspire.org.uk advice@aspire.org.uk technology@aspire.org.uk welfarebenefits@aspire.org.uk

Support Aspire If you would like to make a donation to support the work of Aspire please call 020 8420 6731 or visit www.aspire.org.uk/donate. If you would like to fundraise on behalf of Aspire please call 020 8420 8951 or visit www.aspire.org.uk/fundraising. We welcome support from companies. To find out how your company can fundraise for Aspire please call 020 8420 6731 or visit www.aspire.org.uk/corporate-support.


Solicitors for people with spinal injury

Call us free on: 0800by 030 20 40 Sponsored Email: help@aspirelaw.co.uk www.aspirelaw.co.uk

Solicitors for people with spinal injury

Call us free on: 0800 030 20 40 Email: help@aspirelaw.co.uk www.aspirelaw.co.uk

Aspire Law is the trading name of Aspire Law LLP, which is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales, registration number OC390992. The registered office is London Court, 64, London Road, Southampton, SO15 2AH. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. 07/14

Wood Lane, Stanmore, Middlesex HA7 4AP Tel: 020 8954 5759 Email: info@aspire.org.uk

Aspire Law is the trading name of Aspire Law LLP, which is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales, registration number OC390992. The registered office is London Court, 64, London Road, Southampton, SO15 2AH.

www.aspire.org.uk

Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. 07/14

Association for Spinal Injury Research, Rehabilitation and Reintegration. Registered Charity Number 1075317. Scottish Registered Charity Number SC037482. Registered Company Number 3744357.

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