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Leading charities to collaborate to fight for spinal cord injured people

Spinal cord injury charities the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA), Back Up and Aspire have today signed a joint commitment to work more closely together to improve the lives of spinal cord injured (SCI) people across the UK.

The move is in response to both an increasing number of spinal cord injured people living in the UK as well as unprecedented pressure on essential health, social care provision and other services such as housing, that spinal cord injured people rely on to lead an independent, healthy and fulfilled life.

Under the agreement announced in Westminster today, the three charities have committed to coordinate their efforts to better meet the needs of spinal cord injured people. Together, they will build a powerful and unified voice that will deliver better outcomes for SCI people across the UK.

There are more than 50,000 people living with a spinal cord injury in the UK.  Every four hours, through accident or illness, someone is paralysed by a spinal cord injury. Yet only one in three newly injured people will be able to access specialist care, and one in five will be forced to live in nursing home care, even as young people.

From left to right: Nik Hartley OBE – CEO at Spinal Injuries Association, Jo Wright – Chair at Back-Up, Dr Savoj Patel – Chair of Aspire, Dr Rupert Earl – Chair of Spinal Injuries Association, Brian Carlin – CEO at Aspire, Sarah Bryan – CEO at Back-Up.


The three charities will be launching a nationwide conversation throughout the autumn involving all people living with spinal cord injuries, as well as their immediate families, carers, specialist centres, the NHS and anyone involved in their care and rehabilitation. The findings will be used by the charities to establish how they can combine their individual strengths and resources to deliver services and champion the rights of spinal cord injured people in the UK.

Jo Wright, Chair of Back Up, said, “Today is World Spinal Cord injury day – a very appropriate time to announce our partnership. Charities that work together operate more efficiently, deliver better services and save money. Our stakeholders are keen for us to collaborate to ensure that we respond more effectively to the needs of people affected by SCI, and today starts our shared journey towards that end.’’

Dr Rupert Earl, Chair of SIA said, “The opportunity for an independent life for every person paralysed by a spinal cord injury is under threat. As someone who has also lived with tetraplegia most of my adult working life, I am appalled that our rehabilitation and care services are increasingly failing to provide adequately for the very reasonable needs of SCI people. SIA’s commitment to work together with Back Up and Aspire, and campaign for all people affected by a spinal cord injury is absolutely the right thing to do.”

Dr Saroj Patel, Chair of Aspire, said, “I am delighted that Aspire is committing to working with SIA and Back Up to deliver joined up support for spinal cord injured people in their quest to live independent lives. Together we can maximise the individual strengths of each organisation to develop and grow vital services for our stakeholders. Spinal Cord Injury is changing. At least 2,500 people are injured each year – that’s many more than previously thought and injured people are increasingly of an older age, often with more complex needs.”

From left to right: Brian Carlin – CEO at Aspire, Sarah Bryan – CEO at Back-Up, Nik Hartley OBE – CEO at Spinal Injuries Association


Notes for editor:

About The Spinal Injuries Association

Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) represents the interests of the 50,000 people living with a spinal cord injury in the UK, as well as the many hundreds of thousands of people who are their families, friends and health professionals. We provide spinal cord injured people with the hope, confidence and practical skills to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of injury, during their rehabilitation and at any time afterwards. SIA supports spinal cord injured people and their families with practical and emotional support, advice and information, empowering them to lead full and independent lives. We campaign for change, ensuring that each person can lead a full and active life.

 Offer support and assistance from the time of injury and for the rest of a paralysed person’s life

  • Provide services to increase an individual’s quality of life
  • Support the families of newly injured people
  • Increase knowledge and awareness of the causes and consequences of spinal cord injury
  • Campaign for the best medical and social care for spinal cord injured people

To access our services, please call 01908 604191, email [email protected] or visit www.spinal.co.uk


About Back Up

Back Up is a national charity that inspires people affected by spinal cord injury to get the most out of life. Each year, we reach over 1,000 people with our award-winning services that are designed and delivered by people affected by spinal cord injury. With a team of over 400 volunteers, we offer wheelchair skills training, an accredited mentoring service, telephone support, life skills and activity courses, and support returning to work or education. Back Up also offer support to family members, and we’re the only UK charity with dedicated services for children and young people with a spinal cord injury. Find out more at www.backuptrust.org.uk

About Aspire

Aspire is a leading national charity that provides practical support to people who have been paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury, helping them move from injury to independence. Aspire exists because there is currently no cure. Our services include Accessible Housing, Independent Living, Housing Advice, Welfare Benefits Advice and Assistive Technology.  For more information visit www.aspire.org.uk


Media Contact

Sophie Davis, Spinal Injuries Association             07881 635372