Some of you may have noticed our Facebook page name has changed this week. That change signified a massive milestone on my, and now the charity’s, story! This blog explains why that change has happened.
This story starts right back during early 2014 when I was contacted by someone who said I had inspired them during their brain recovery. They were referring to a Men’s Health article I had featured in during Aug 2013. As you can imagine, I was made up with there positive comments. I spoke with the person and we discussed the lack of support and guidance for brain recovery.
It give me an idea, an idea I hoped would help people affected by brain injury. I spent the next 6 months making notes on the previous two years of my recovery spanning 2012-2014.
I thought that if I could give an insight into my brain recovery it may offer understanding and advice to others going through recovery. I wanted to let people with a brain injury know they weren’t alone and things can get better. Also, to give people an insight into how it feels to live with a brain injury and how I acted and why. This was the understanding part.
It was a difficult process putting all this information together. I was working at the time and often felt fatigued on an evening. I was struggling at work and still making sense of my new brain with help from a Neuro psychologist at rehabilitation. The memories of my past didn’t come easily and I was often forgetful and could forget about the job in hand. I also questioned myself, wondering if I was doing the right thing!
I knew it was going to be a risk, exposing my weaknesses and talking about depression and fragilities as it could have made me vulnerable. I could have been judged or mocked, but I knew what I had to do and was prepared to go deep to connect with the people intended.
In October 2014 I published a Facebook page called;
Paul Spence – My brain recovery
Here are its settings;
At this point I just hoped my work would help people in some way and make things easier during a long and difficult recovery.
I am very pleased and proud to say that it had a positive effect and was soon reaching and connecting with not only people nationwide but worldwide! There was a clear message out there; it’s not only Hull that is lacking support during brain recovery, but throughout the UK!
I felt I had found a new purpose after brain injury. This was my path and I would channel my energy into making a difference in the community by providing much needed support. So, I decided to build on my original work and develop a charity.
After much deliberation about the name, I decided on PAUL which is obviously my name but it was also chosen as an acronym of Positivity, Awareness, Understanding and Love.
Each word was carefully chosen as an offering or subject to do with my brain recovery. I hoped this would help make life easier after brain injury.
Some of the very early ideas and work:
With help from sarah we developed a logo.It felt great to reach 15oo likes on our Facebook site and have the logo with the acronym printed on a T-Shirt.
Awareness was building as the ‘likes’ increased, and I was soon connecting with the brain injured – meeting people affected in the gym, going for walks and meeting for coffee.
I knew that to make a real difference we would need a recovery centre. I went to see the NHS Hull CCG. I told them a support service was missing in our community. They asked me what my plans were. I said I was going to register a charity and provide a quality service to people affected. They told me to go away, get a business plan and come back, to which I replied, “No problem, I will!”
To be honest at this point I didn’t even know what a business plan was! But, not to be deterred, I resolved to find someone that could help and so I marched on.
A charity committee was formed and with support from Hudgell solicitors we started the process to become a U.K registered charity. Our first application of PAUL was turned down as it already existed. I thought about it some more and decided that our support was for brain recovery. And so…
PAUL For Brain Recovery was born:
I went back to the NHS HULL CCG with a business plan. I am pleased to say that we have now formed a partnership and they are providing us with an area to offer peer to peer support at the Wilberforce Health Centre which is officially opening during April 2016!
I am proud to say that Paul Spence – My brain recovery has gone from strength to strength and developed into what we are today. I would never have imagined this possible when I first published that Facebook page. My brain recovery has been the seed for everything that has grown and everything that we are growing into.
With the centre launch coming soon and our service developing, it was right to change the Facebook name to suit.
Here’s the new look and what we have developed into:
Going forward, our Facebook site will be more about the service we are providing,information regarding brain recovery and education rather than my personal brain recovery. Although you may still see me from time to time ?The site will be changing as our service at the centre develops. Look out for our weekly #Positivity #Awareness #Understanding #Love posts. They will be a new feature coming soon.Special thanks to everyone who supported me initially and now the charity. You are all helping to make life easier after brain injury.Onwards & Upwards,