A NEW group is providing groundbreaking support for people with brain injuries in East Dunbartonshire.
The Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Cafe takes place at Kirkintilloch Baptist Church Cafe on the first Thursday of every month.
It is open to all those suffering from ABI – a brain injury suffered after birth due to trauma or illness – their families and carers.
Organised by Ceartas and Headway Glasgow, its membership has more than doubled since it started in May.
The group offers people with ABI a chance to talk about their experiences, have some fun and get advice from visiting experts – most recently Elaine Jack from the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Helen Moran is one of the residents who attends the cafe and believes it is an important resource for people who might be scared to talk about their injury.
Helen (42), who moved to Kirkintilloch last year, suffered a brain injury when she sleepwalked out of the window of her Glasgow flat seven years ago.
She was taken to hospital with a broken pelvis and ribs, a ruptured spleen, liver and bladder, cracked teeth, a split skull, and bruising and blood clots to her brain.
She said: “I don’t remember the first month, but it was touch and go there for a while.
“I was on a conveyor belt of hospitals, but then was put out into the big bad world where there was very little support. It was very stressful and I felt hurt and alone.
“I would be walking near where I lived and I knew where I wanted to go, but couldn’t think how to get there.”
Despite continuing problems with her memory, the mum-of-two has made an amazing recovery since the accident and is now the chair of the Brain Injury Awareness Campaign (BrainIAC).
The group raises awareness of ABI and is currently lobbying to have the condition recognised as a separate health care category by the Scottish Government – separate from mental health issues, physical disabilities or learning difficulties.
She said: “I’m really getting on my soapbox. ABI can effect anyone at any time and everybody deserves the help they need.
“It’s fantastic to have something like this in Kirkintilloch, not only for those with an ABI, but for their family and friends.”
The next ABI Cafe is on Thursday, August 4, and will feature a talk from the fire brigade. For more details contact Ceartas on 0141 775 0433 or Headway Glasgow on 0141 332 8878.
Pam Thomson, from Ceartas, said: “It’s a very good group who have come together well to support each other. I’d encourage anybody who has an ABI to come along or anybody who knows a person with an ABI to tell them about us.”
The latest meeting of the cafe is pictured.