Dean makes headway launching help for those with brain injuries

Dean Harding volunteering at the Headway centre in Shoreditch

Dean Harding volunteering at the Headway centre in Shoreditch - Credit: Rii Schroer

A man who recovered from a brain injury 23 years ago starts work this week at the Royal London Hospital helping other injury victims. 

Dean Harding is bringing “lived experience” and personal insight to those in need and is touring the ward to make bedside visits if requested.  

Dean at the Headway centre answering emails 

Dean at the Headway centre answering emails - Credit: Rii Schroer

He works with the Headway East London charity in Shoreditch that got him through his own rehabilitation from his injuries caused when he was beaten up in 1998 on a night out in his 20s. 

“There was no-one to tell me or my family how the injury would affect my life when I was in the critical early stages of recovery,” he said.  

“I am in a unique position to share my experiences and advice and am looking forward to getting into the hospital and connecting with people when they need it most.”  

Dean, who was first featured in the East London Advertiser in 2007, wants to help those in the early stages of care and rehabilitation.   

He later volunteered at the charity and is now a paid staff member launching its “Better Together” programme at the Royal London with clinical teams advising injury survivors and their families. 

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Headway East London’s chief executive Anna McEwen said: “The earlier survivors and their families can get support following a brain injury the better equipped they are when they’re discharged from hospital.”  

Some of the team at the 'Better Together' launch at the Royal London

Some of the team at the 'Better Together' launch at the Royal London - Credit: Headway

The programme helps navigate the health and social care system to find out about benefit entitlements and other specialist services. It sets out to avoid the psychological, financial and personal crises that commonly affect those adjusting to life with brain injury. 

Royal London neurotrauma clinical nurse Alice Kershberg said in praise: “I have witnessed the positive impact this charity has on brain injury survivors in the early stages.”    

The charity can now reach hundreds more patients with the programme being sponsored by Bolt Burdon Kemp, a personal injury law firm in Islington which represents brain injury survivors.  

Dean today... with his mentor lawyer Ipek Tugcu

Dean today... with his mentor lawyer Ipek Tugcu - Credit: Headway

The firm’s senior associate Ipek Tugcu, who works with the charity as Dean Harding’s mentor, said: “Having a brain injury affects the whole family. Patients can often be discharged with more questions than answers. 

"This programme provides face-to-face advice about surviving an injury and offers reassurance about support services that are there for them once they’re home.” 

Volunteers and Royal London nursing staff at the 'Better Together' launch helping brain injury victims  

Volunteers and Royal London nursing staff at the 'Better Together' launch helping brain injury victims - Credit: Headway

The Headway East London “Better Together” programme at the Royal London runs every Wednesday afternoon. 

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