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Freemasons support for independent living

Freemasons support charity helping disabled children to live independently.

The Freemasons’ Grand Charity has donated to a charity that helps disabled children and young people.

The grant of £55,000 has been given to Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF) and will go towards building a Care and Rehabilitation Centre, that will be a home for its Neuro Rehabilitation Services that helps people rebuild their lives after devastating brain injuries, and will have facilities for 48 clients, with a range of therapy rooms and activity areas.

QEF works with around 4,000 disabled children and adults every year and in addition to its Neuro Rehabilitation Services, also operates a Mobility Centre where people with disabilities can learn to drive and increase their other options for mobility, Independent Living Services – a centre where young people with severe disabilities work towards moving into the community after school or college, and also provides other services such as creating custom assistive equipment where nothing else exists to meet a need, and accessible holidays for people with disabilities.

One of the people QEF has helped is Reece. As a healthy 19 year old, he was working as a police special constable when the police car he was a passenger in was involved in a collision with a taxi.

As a result he suffered a severe brain injury and spent several months in hospital before he was medically stable enough to be referred to QEF Neuro Rehabilitation Services.

When he was first assessed, Reece could not use his hands and had restricted movement of his upper body and limbs. This was as a result of what doctors call ‘severe tone’ where muscles are extremely stiff. This meant that Reece was entirely dependent on carers for all of his needs.

In addition to physical rehabilitation, Reece was treated with Botulinium toxin injections – often known as ‘Botox’ – carefully guided by EMG (Electromyography) which reads the electrical signals from muscles.

The goal of this treatment was to restore Reece’s hand function and limb movement and it has been successful.

Reece no longer has to rely on carers using hoists to transfer him to his powered wheelchair, and can now independently operate his wheelchair, improving his mobility.

He says: “I can now brush my hair, clean my teeth, and eat with a fork and spoon.  Things I just used to take for granted, but are so important to feeling independent again.”

Chief Executive of QEF Jonathan Powell said: “We are thrilled to receive this generous grant from the Freemasons’ Grand Charity. This is a significant contribution to the new facility and will provide much needed therapies to people with acquired brain injuries.

It will help them to survive, not only their injury, but move towards a meaningful recovery. On behalf of QEF’s trustees, staff, and all of the people we work with, I would like to thank the Grand Charity for their continued support to QEF’s work”.

Laura Chapman, Chief Executive of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, said: “We are delighted to support the wonderful work that QEF do to help disabled children and young people.

Results have found that 57% of people using QEF’s Brain Injury Centre will return to work or education, compared to the national average of 15%, which demonstrates the incredible impact their services have.”

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