The isolation experienced by a family from Newry following a devastating brain injury led to them establish a charity and Northern Ireland’s first community-owned support centre that now has over 100 members.
Frank and Aileen Dolaghan have cared for their son, Tony, since he suffered his injury 25 years ago. Tony had to re-learn many basic skills during a slow recovery including walking, talking, writing and eating. He can drive and has a degree of independence in his own apartment attached to his parents’ home, but the isolation and loneliness that the entire family felt during his slow recovery led the couple to set up the Brain Injury Foundation with other carers and brain injury survivors.
Launched in 2012, the Brain Injury Foundation bought its own premises a couple of years ago – Our House – with the help of funding support through the Big Lottery Funded Space & Place programme. Open five days a week, Our House offers members and their carers a chance to get together and share their experiences, to socialise and to acquire new skills and hobbies.
Frank Dolgaghan describes carers as the most important resource a brain injury survivor has.
Click here to visit the Brain Injury Foundation website.