I am delighted to bring you an update on how money raised by the Eyes Alight appeal has benefitted BIRT service users.

Eyes Alight was originally set up by Izzy Judd to help the service users who are supported by the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT) to have experiences that make their eyes "light up" with pleasure whilst they are in the process of rehabilitation from acquired brain injury.

Following recent donations, staff from BIRT services have liaised with the people we support to decide how they would like to spend the money. The funds have been used to contribute to a range of activities described here.

service users on top of a mountan for Eyes Alight

Kent House recently benefitted from a large Eyes Alight donation towards the centre’s new Garden Room, kindly opened by Izzy and Harry earlier this year. The centre plans to allocate their remaining Eyes Alight donations to enable service users to enjoy trips to the cinema and theatre. There are also ideas to purchase a large screen television so the centre can create an old fashion cinema setting hosting “movie afternoons”.

At Fen House it was decided to purchase a wide screen television and cinema surround sound system so they could host film nights – especially for those who are currently unable go to the cinema. Fen House is also hoping to use some of their Eyes Alight money to purchase televisions for people who do not have them in their rooms. At Goole Neurorehabilitation Centre they also used their money to purchase a wide screen television for service users to enjoy whilst relaxing.

Service Users from Redford Court, in Liverpool, have benefited from a number of activities which have included a canal trip, a theatre trip to watch ‘Grease’ and entertainers coming to the centre, such as singer Billy Nelson, and a theatre company performed ‘Putting on the Ritz’. Everybody is looking forward to a number of other theatre trips later this year including popular musicals ‘Dreamboats and Miniskirts’ and ‘Hairspray’.

Osman House used Eyes Alight fundraised money for a range of activities, including a Spa Day and Afternoon Tea. Everyone at the service is looking forward to upcoming trips to the Light Water Valley and The Ryedale Show.

Four people from Osman House asked to use the Eyes Alight money for a ‘Steam Train Experience’ where they will enjoy fish and chips on board a real train.

Devon based centre, The Woodmill, has used their money to help service users get out and about; enjoying a day trip to Haldon Forest, walking around the discovery trail, and a group bowling trip. The funds also enabled staff to support a service user to attend the Devon County Show, where they sampled the food on offer and saw a range of animals. Another person was able to go and see ‘Fast and Furious 7’ at the local cinema.

Further Eyes Alight donations contributed to a theatre company visiting the service and performing an ‘Around the World’ musical show. Everybody took part, using musical instruments and singing along. The donations have also been contributing to the fitness and wellbeing of those at The Woodmill; funding visits to a specialist swimming pool. They have really enjoyed the therapeutic benefits from swimming and they have been practising doing laps as well as just enjoying being in the pool.

Elsewhere across BIRT, people from Graham Anderson House, based in Glasgow used Eyes Alight money for service users to enjoy a night out at the ‘all you can eat’ world buffet.

Bowling at an Eyes ALight event

In Birmingham, at West Heath House, there was an outing to a production of Dancefest on 11th July at the Artrix Arts Centre.

Everyone at Bristol Road is looking forward to using the theatre season tickets they have bought using Eyes Alight money.

Those at Tŷ Aberdafen in Wales have enjoyed a number of activities, ranging from cinema visits to trips to the circus.

Phillip went to see a Led Zeplin tribute band and said, “I had a really good time as they’re one of my favourite groups. I would love to go again.” John and Peter recently visited the circus commenting, “We both enjoyed it very much, the atmosphere was great and we enjoyed the motorbikes inside the dome the most.”

A bit of background

An estimated 1 million people in the UK are living with the effects of acquired brain injury as a result of deprivation of oxygen supply to the brain through, for example, stroke or traumatic brain injury, caused by a blow to the head. The resultant injury can affect mobility, speech, behaviour, cognitive ability, memory and judgement.

Izzy’s brother Rupert Johnston, who has a brain injury sustained in a car accident in 1997, lives at BIRT centre Kent House along with 20 other people with similar injuries. They, along with nearly 500 other people across the UK, in 15 centres, are supported by BIRT which is part of The Disabilities Trust, a leading national charity which additionally provides innovative care, rehabilitation and support solutions for people with profound physical impairments, learning disabilities as well as children and adults with autism.

Thank you so much for your continued support.

You can make an online donation to the Eyes Alight Appeal or you can send a cheque made out to "The Disabilities Trust" and send it to The Disabilities Trust, 32 Market Place, Burgess Hill, RH15 9NP, together with a note confirming that you'd like the money to go towards the Eyes Alight Appeal.

Helen Tridgell, Head of Marketing & Fundraising