Brain injury arts class growing in popularity

An arts and craft class held for people with brain injuries is growing in popularity in Longford.

An arts and craft class held for people with brain injuries is growing in popularity in Longford.

For the past six weeks, people with brain injuries, and families and carers too, have been meeting on Monday afternoons for craft classes in the Phoenix Centre at Mount Carmel on the Dublin Road.

“These craft classes are great fun and they’re an ideal interesting activity to come together for,” Sandy Roper told the Leader. “After head injuries, strokes, or other brain injury causes, people benefit a lot by getting out from home and doing these craft classes together.”

Sandy is Longford’s Brí facilitator, a national independent brain injury support and advocacy charity organisation that provides support, information and advocacy to people with brain injuries, their families and carers. Brí is an Irish word for strength and understanding.

The funding for the crafts tutor has been provided through the VEC. An exhibition of the work created by those participating will be held, at a venue yet to be decided, before the end of the year.

“The classes are really helping those attending. Many people who have brain injuries would not be very verbal and activities such as this allow them to come out of themselves for a bit,” Sandy added.

It is hoped music therapy classes will also be organised, with an expected start date in February. Funding has been sought through LCRL to expand into professionally guided music therapy sessions next year too.

“There’s lots of evidence that music therapy is beneficial, as well as being a good way to get out and meet other people with brain injuries,” Sandy said.

All of this is being organised at a local level due to a lack of support from the government, according to Sandy. “The big challenge is there is nothing for people in Longford with brain injuries. There’s no support, no one to turn to. All the focus has been on big cities, and not smaller towns like Longford.

“The people attending these activities are thrilled; it’s making a huge difference,” Sandy added.

Brí is organising an outing from Longford to South County Dublin on 1st December for this year’s Santa Fun Walk or Run. The run, which will take place in Shanganagh Park in Shankhill, will feature a visit from Santa who will have free gifts for the children taking part.

“Cold or mild, snow or dry, the Brí Fun Walk or Run will have Santa costumes for all to look the part, plus everybody will help spread the word about Brí for people who’ve had brain injuries,” Sandy said.

Registration for the Fun Walk is €5. Sandy is organising it from Longford and can be contacted on 086 3289850.