Makeover for brain injury charity’s second-hand shop

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Picture: DAVID FERGUSON (30750240)
Picture: DAVID FERGUSON (30750240)

WHILE many businesses and Islanders used lockdown as an opportunity to declutter and refresh, one store went further than most, undergoing a complete ‘transformation’.

Thanks to the support of construction firm ROK, Headway’s charity shop in New Street has benefited from a makeover which, in the words of fundraising manager Bryce Alford, included ‘an eye-catching new fascia, inviting interior and newly fitted flooring’.

‘It had been several years since we had done any work on the shop and, financially, we were not in a position to do anything, so we are tremendously grateful to ROK for their generosity and support,’ Mr Alford explained.

The results of the work are immediately visible to motorists and pedestrians making their way down New Street.

‘One of the greatest impacts has been the new fascia, which now reflects the charity’s distinct blue colour scheme,’ Mr Alford continued. ‘This really stands out and makes the shop much more visible to anyone walking down the street – and to those drivers waiting for the traffic lights to turn green.’

The enhanced prominence which the work has given Headway is particularly timely given the events of the past 12 months, which have had a severe impact upon the charity’s revenue.

‘It costs £350,000 to provide our services each year and, as a result of the Covid pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, our income fell by £150,000 last year,’ Mr Alford added. ‘The shop is the lifeblood of our fundraising efforts, so having to keep the doors closed for the best part of a year has been devastating.’

Founded in 1997, Headway provides support, information and services to Islanders affected by brain injuries.

‘We have around 140 members who we engage with on a regular basis,’ Mr Alford explained. ‘Some of them have suffered brain injuries from strokes, brain tumours, aneurysm or accidents. There are many causes of brain injury and the effect they have is life changing, not just for the person directly involved but also for families.

‘If someone has a stroke, for example, and receives treatment in hospital, they often don’t know what to do or how to adjust when they are discharged. Headway offers a range of therapy services including neurophysiotherapy, exercise therapy and swimming to support people’s rehabilitation and rebuild their independence and confidence.’

With many of these services having been suspended during lockdown, Mr Alford said the impact on patients and families had been significant.

‘Until something like this happens, people are not really aware how much they rely on the facilities we offer,’ he added. ‘Since we have been able to resume our services, we have noticed that a lot of people’s physical and mental health has regressed as a result of the lockdown.’

As well as the therapy services, Headway runs a series of focus groups from its centre at Le Coie.

‘The word focus is the key, as these groups involve a very small number of people so that we can pay full attention to their needs and devise a tailored approach to support them,’ Mr Alford added.

While the charity is hoping to hold some fundraising events – including an autumn ball and summer Super Stars team challenge – the shop remains at the heart of the organisation’s revenue generation.

‘We are really excited to have this fresh space and are looking forward to welcoming customers back through the doors,’ said Mr Alford. ‘Having reorganised the layout once the work was complete, it is now much easier for customers to browse the products.’

And it is a range of merchandise which changes by the day, as Islanders donate good-quality second-hand clothes, shoes, jewellery and household items to the charity.

Mr Alford said: ‘You never know what someone will bring in from one day to the next, which makes it really exciting for our shop manager, Jeremy Strickland, and the team of volunteers. At the moment, we have a wonderful collection of stamps, dating back to 1976, which I’m sure will generate a lot of interest among philatelists.’

With a commitment to ‘helping the community where needed’, ROK’s work on the refurbishment began in October. The company then partnered with the Co-op, Malcolm Crowe, Signtech and Emanee to complete the project.

‘ROK was thrilled to be involved in supporting Headway to refresh their charity shop,’ said director Greg Morrison. ‘It was a team effort and it was great that local businesses were so happy to bring their skills, materials and time to the project.

‘From the striking new external signage to the carpets, furnishings, decoration and lights, we are delighted with the result and very much hope that this will help Headway to continue raising money for its much-needed work.’

Expressing the charity’s gratitude to both ROK and the team of volunteers who support Headway, Mr Alford added: ‘We are always looking both for more donations and team members, so if anyone would like to get involved, or has any ideas for future fundraising events, I would love to hear from them.’

Anyone wishing to contact Mr Alford can call him on 505937 or email brycealford.headway@gmail.com.

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