A SOMERSET charity that provides services to enable people with brain injuries to live as independently as possible has received a £75,000 windfall.

Headway Somerset has been given the cash by the Lloyds Bank Foundation to fund four new rehabilitation assistants over three years.

The staff will support the development of adults who have been unemployed for at least six months.

Headway Somerset’s services are used by 300 people across the county each year, over a third of who require intensive support with cognitive and social rehabilitation.

Brain injuries have a huge and often sudden impact on the lives of those affected, and adapting their lifestyles after injury can take many months.

Support offered by Headway Somerset ranges from helping the brain learn alternative ways of working after injury, managing involuntary personality changes, and helping the individuals and their family to cope successfully with any remaining physical and learning disabilities.

The staff to be funded by the Lloyds Banking Foundation grant will allow the charity to offer additional modular and one-to-one sessions to support those looking to build, or rebuild, the skills they need to gain employment or other opportunities within the community.

One of the individuals who benefited such support from Headway was a 42-year-old woman who had suffered a stroke following treatment for cancer.

Hilary Dicks, chief executive at Headway Somerset, said: “When she first came to the centre she lacked confidence and independence; her stroke having taken away her ability to drive or carry out simple daily tasks.

“She received weekly support in developing skills that seemed impossibly daunting at first, such as catching the local bus.

“By the end of 12 months, she had conquered this and much more. She began by taking responsibility for her household finances, then took on some voluntary admin work, and finally got a part time job at a local shop.”

She added: “The support from Lloyds Bank Foundation is a vindication of the value of our work, and this additional funding will allow us to provide our new initiative on a wider scale.

“Not only do we hope to see more adults engaging in learning, voluntary placements or paid jobs, but we also believe that this programme will benefit the health and wellbeing of the participants on their journey towards living more independently.”

Lloyds Bank Foundation focuses on funding charities helping people at critical points in their lives, and those looking to break out of disadvantage.

The Foundation’s South-West grant manager Trevor Smale said: “We are extremely pleased to be supporting this well led and strategically focussed charity.

“The foundation is committed to providing sustainable investment to allow charities like Headway Somerset to extend its highly commendable offering.”

Visit www.lloydsbankfoundation.org.uk for more information.