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A NEW community support centre dedicated to helping those recovering from serious brain injuries can become a symbol of hope and positivity for all those facing the long hard road to recovery, its founder says.

Paul Spence will officially open the PAUL – For Brain Recovery Centre in Hull on Friday, April 15, a facility he says will fill a crucial gap in the care provided to those who are left facing the huge challenge of rebuilding their lives after a brain injury.

Paul, of Hull, East Yorkshire, suffered a brain haemorrhage himself in 2012 at the age of 32, when he was the victim of a violent, unprovoked attack on a night out in the city. He spent five days in and out of consciousness and repeatedly suffered seizures on a high dependency ward in hospital.

The centre will initially be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am-5pm, and Wednesday evenings from 4pm-8pm.

It will offer guidance and support through inspirational and motivational talks and educational sessions on topics from coping strategies to healthy nutrition, fitness, recovery and well-being.

Associates of the PAUL charity, including leading brain injury specialists who Paul has established close links to over the past four years, will also provide support at the centre.

Visitors will also be able to take part in a number of specifically designed physical and mental activities to help stimulate and progress their minds and memories, with all regular visitors having their progress tracked each month to highlight steps forward in their recovery portfolio.

Providing family support was one of the key services identified by Paul as a must for the new centre, as he says the impact of his brain injury on life at home, his relationships with his loved ones, and friends, was one of the biggest challenges he, and those who cared for him, faced.

“We’ve really tried to focus the centre on providing the kind of support which is lacking in communities for people when they leave hospital and start trying to rebuild their lives, as that is when the really tough part of recovery starts,” Paul added.

“Once you leave hospital you find your biggest challenge is only just starting, and that is adapting to your new life and finding it in yourself to accept your old life is gone forever. For every patient that has a brain injury, you may as well multiply that number by five in terms of how many people it affects within the community.

“The opening of the new centre has been made possible thanks to funding raised from Paul’s many fundraising physical challenges and community events held over the past 12 months, and with support from both Hudgell Solicitors, and the NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which has offered a base at the Wilberforce Health Centre in Story Street, Hull to support the PAUL for Brain Recovery Centre for the first 12 months

Emma Latimer, NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group Chief Officer said:

“Paul’s remarkable journey to overcome traumatic brain injury – and his desire to help others in the same position – has led to the development of a special, one-of-a-kind facility for Hull. We want to wish him and his team every success with the new recovery centre.”

The PAUL For Brain Recovery Centre will be officially opened to invited guests at 1pm on Friday, April 15. It will be open to members of the public from 12-3pm on Saturday, April 16.

The service will be available from Tuesday, April 19, at 9am.

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