The Brain Charity
The Brain Charity was founded in 1993 in connection with The Walton Centre with the aim of raising awareness and understanding of neurological conditions. Offering national coverage, they provide emotional support, practical help, and social activities to anyone with a neurological condition and to their family, friends and carers too.
We spoke with Tui, the Head of Fundraising and Communications at the charity to find out more about how they support their community. “We offer practical help to those who need it – this might be helping them with benefits applications, counselling or finding a route back to employment. Our goal is to empower individuals and families to manage their conditions and realise their full potential.”
Located in the Fabric District, the Brain Charity’s building houses event spaces and meeting rooms which are available for hire as well as a restaurant which is open to the public – The Brain Food Café. “Our café is a fantastic space for our visitors, staff, service users and guests. We employ people who have previously benefitted from our support, and support volunteers who might be venturing back into the world of work for the first time. It’s fantastic to see their confidence grow in these roles.”
Safety is a key focus for The Brain Charity, who recently had all their spaces certified Covid Safe by Foursquare Group. “For some of our clients, just leaving the house is a huge achievement. Due to a diagnosis, or more recently shielding measures, this might be their first outing for some time. It’s important to us that we make our space as warm, welcoming, and safe as we possibly can to give our customers the confidence to return.”
At the start of this year, The Brain Charity had a clear path to follow. “Prior to Covid, our goal was to grow our café, shop and meeting room hire revenue. This helps fund our front-line support, so the more we make the more vital services we are able to offer.”
Unfortunately, with a hugely reduced footfall in hospitality spaces including their café, reduced booking capacities to allow for social distancing and less events, activities and meetings taking place in the building, The Brain Charity’s revenue has taken a direct hit.
This could not have come at a worse time for the Charity. “We’ve seen a 70% increase in demand for our services over recent months. Some recent studies have shown that there may be longer term cognitive issues linked to Covid, and this combined with social isolation has also led to an increase in mental health issues. Our support is needed now more than ever before.”
But Tui and the team are determined to weather the storm. “We have an incredible Board of Trustees who support our decisions and give us the freedom to be flexible in our approach. We’re proud of our governance and the active involvement of our Trustees. In the longer term we would love to become a local community hub which is known more widely outside our service users. We have many students in the area who we hope will use our café, and we’re working together with the Fabric District CIC to support the redevelopment of this part of the city.”
The Brain Charity’s vision is to develop as a leader in the field of neurological advice, and support services in a human and friendly way. “We want to do everything we can to enable all those affected by neurological conditions to live longer, healthier, happier lives.”
Wondering how you can support The Brain Charity in their work? With hireable spaces from just £12 per hour, they have something for everyone – why not book your next meeting in their Covid-Safe space? Simply use the link www.thebraincharity.org.uk/room-hire.