Our aim is to reach everyone with a spinal cord injury, to tackle whatever barriers they face, and to connect them to all the help and support they need to flourish in their lives, in the way they want and choose.
We won’t stop until we live in a world where every person with a spinal cord injury gets the chance to lead a fulfilled life.
50,000 people live with spinal cord injury in the UK
What we do
Every four hours, a person’s life is changed when they sustain a spinal cord injury (SCI). Their world – and that of their family – is turned upside-down. Spinal cord injury can be caused by accidents, illnesses and health conditions.
Our NHS helps put newly injured people on the road to rebuilding their lives; we guide them throughout the rest of the journey.
Our holistic approach to supporting people who are spinal cord injured and their loved ones means we provide the time, expertise and connections essential to making pathways towards a fulfilled life.
Life with SCI can look different to that led before injury. Our careers, relationships and even our homes might change. And this isn’t to say that has to be a negative. Essential to getting through the changes is the support of people who have been there before and understand what you’re going through. That’s why our support coordinators are here to support newly injured people even before hospital discharge.
In the financial year 2022-23 we delivered more than 1,600 support sessions to meet the practical and emotional needs of people with spinal cord injury
Our team of support coordinators can advise on everything from employment, travel, accessibility, housing, finances and more. They can also refer on to more appropriate services if they are unable to help with certain needs or enquiries.
I really didn’t know who to speak to about my difficulties, so I just put up with everything. You have made such a massive difference to me.
While our NHS is put under increasing pressure the need for advocacy and support has never been greater. Thanks to our freephone support line, a listening ear is available on the end of the phone for all in the SCI community.
In 2022/23 we listened and helped people on more than 1,400 calls to our support line
Our team of SCI clinical specialists, which includes nurses and an occupational therapist, ensure every person with SCI gets the very best care wherever they receive it. The team can advise people with SCI and their loved ones on clinical care, such as bowel and bladder management and skin care, and can help create vitally important documents, such as the potentially life-saving emergency care plans.
Nearly 750 healthcare professionals received training and education from our clinical specialist team in 2022/23
The team also shares its many years of SCI specialist knowledge with other healthcare professionals and people working with people with SCI to ensure all receive the treatment and care needed to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
Essential, practical medical and emotional support for the injured person and family. You really changed the outcomes for the better.
Our own research revealed the worrying scale of the psychological toll of spinal cord injury, with half of the people living with SCI in our study saying they had experienced mental health problems. We also know that speaking with someone who can understand what you’re going through is especially helpful in times of need, which is why we offer all in the spinal cord injury community free talking therapies with our specialist counselling service run by people with SCI.
Our free SCI specialist counselling service supported just under 100 people living with SCI in 2022/23
Amplifying SCI people’s voices
We believe every person with a SCI has the right to a fulfilled life and should be treated fairly and with respect. We also believe the SCI community should be listened to in the corridors of power where decisions that affect their lives are made – there should be nothing about us without us.
To ensure this happens, we campaign on the issues that matter to people with SCI and their loved ones. Among that which we push for are specialised mental health services, a better understanding of how the care crisis affects disabled people and adequate provision of vital specialist healthcare for all people with SCI.
We know it takes a solid support network to rebuild a life after injury, and our growing network of trusted partners is integral to that. Whatever help is needed, whether it be care, financial planning or legal representation, we bring people with SCI and experts in various fields together to forge life-changing connections wherever they are in the country.
SIA have always been a source of reassurance, advice and support with all my enquiries. Cannot recommend them enough.
How it all started
Susan Cunliffe-Lister, Baroness Masham of Ilton, was one of Britain’s first Paralympic medallists and our president. She became paralysed below the chest following a riding accident in 1958. After her injury, she became aware of the lack of specialist medical care available to all newly injured people and the scarcity of information and advice available after discharge from hospital. Out of these twin concerns, Spinal Injuries Association was founded in 1974.
Baroness Masham who sadly passed away in March 2023 advocated long and hard for health equality and disability rights, especially in her role as a crossbench member of the House of Lords.
Our patron: the Princess Royal
Princess Anne has been a great source of support and encouragement. She became our patron on our 10th anniversary in 1984 and has faithfully supported us as we have grown and developed over the years.
The princess regularly attends our events and was the guest of honour when we opened our HQ, SIA House in Milton Keynes, in 2005.
Our reports and policies
Find out more about the work we do in our reports, including our impact report and research papers. And find out more about the way we work in our policies. Click on the buttons below to read them: