AIREDALE & BRADFORD

Amputee support group

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How We Began

CHAIRMAN D Rushworth

The Airedale & Bradford Out on a Limb Amputee Support Group was positively thought of in January 2010 and founded in March 2010 by a group of amputees, their partners, carers and the NHS Rehabilitation team at Airedale Hospital.

This followed on from a long term realisation that nearly all of the stress and worry is due to lack of information about all aspects of a future life both before

and in the early days after amputation.

  • Will I be able to work?
  • What will I do for money?
  • Will I ever drive again?
  • How will I manage the steps into my house with a wheelchair etc?

Over the period of time of the rehabilitation process – taking from several months to over a year each individual finds out all they needed to know to proceed with their lives.

But if only I had known at the beginning is a common thought.

Also the NHS looks after the patient but not necessarily the people around them.

The rehab team at Airedale contacted Keighley Voluntary Services to find out about setting up a group and subsequently in January 2010 a meeting was set up at Airedale Rehab Gym inviting both past and current patients along with their partners and carers.

Over 40 people turned up at that first meeting which was chaired by Shaun O Hare from Keighley Voluntary Services.

It was a unanimous decision to go ahead and form a group.

It was quickly decided that it would be a good idea to produce an information pack to help dispel the stress and worry that existed in the early days after amputation and it was thought that it would also be good to meet up socially and have some fun together whilst at the same time encouraging each other and passing on information.

Those having good days can help those having bad days.

We needed a name;

Suggestions were Limbless (already existed), Some go without, Up and Over, Wide eyed and legless, Arm over Leg and one or two others in really bad taste!

Finally, it was decided to call the group Out On a Limb only to find later that was also in use.

Then thinking about a web site name Airedale Out On a Limb was adopted which would bring the name to the top of any web search.

An inaugural meeting was set up by Keighley Voluntary services in March 2010 at the White Bear pub in Crosshills and the group was formally set up, a committee was elected and the constitution as a charity was signed.

Initial progress was slow as it was reliant on the free time of the committee, none having done anything like it before and then on advice from KVS we applied for agrant from Keighley Town Council which was successful and got us off the ground paying for our public Liability insurance, stationary to produce our first flyers and to set up our web site.

Advised by Keighley Bfunded we obtained 2 further grants from Bradford Council Adult Services which was practically a miracle with all the cuts going on,

we got in just in time, bringing our income for 2011 to £6000 plus our subscription fees which we had set at £10 a year.

With these grants we have now been able to push ahead withour aims and purpose.

At this stage it was realised that there were more amputations taking place at the Bradford Hospital and that the rehabilitation team at Bradford should be included.

The head of the team at Bradford was very enthusiastic to join, they were included and we became Airedale & Bradford Out On a Limb amputee support group.

We were also lucky as one of our amputee members is a professional artist and she produced 6 ideas for our logo, with the one you see above being chosen.

The committee currently meets monthly and now in 2016 we have just had our sixth Annual General meeting.

The information required for over 65’s and under 65’s can be different and so we have produced packs for the two age groups and by using different coloured polyfiles for the information packs we can pre-assemble for both hospitals and age groups.

Our first information packs were introduced at Airedale Hospital shortly followed by Bradford Royal Infirmary after being scrutinised and passed as acceptable for use in the hospital.

They are also available at Seacroft Hospital Leeds which is the regional prosthetic centre.

The packs contain information on Benefits, Mobility cars, Blue badge disabled parking, and signposting to other relevant organisations and companies.

Three of our members have been officially inducted as volunteers to assist in the Rehab Gyms and they are all available to talk to new patients if requested to do so.

Initially set up early in 2011 our Web Site www.airedaleoutonalimb.co.uk has a number of pages on the public and members side and will continue to be developed. 

There are also dedicated e-mail addresses and a charity mobile phone.

Posters are up at all relevant sites and flyers are readily available.

We are holding social evenings with race nights and quizzes etc. every other month providing door to door wheelchair transport where required and these are interspersed with our trips out in the minibus to a variety of destinations such as Windemere, Whitby, Scarborough and other places of interest and entertainment.

This enables members who are otherwise trapped within their four walls to escape and meet with other amputees to swap stories and advise one another the best way to do things.

There is obviously a need for a support group providing information at any hospital that provides amputation procedures and finally this is also being recognised elsewhere.

In the very beginning the people at Keighley Voluntary Services thought that this idea should exist on a national basis.

An information pack is now available at Wakefield, York have started a group and a number of other hospitals are also interested in setting up groups.

Our concern is that with a number of groups setting up there will be unnecessary duplication and we anticipate that our support group can be used as a model nationwide to avoid the waste of precious funds.

We have found the social side to be important to our members especially those on their own who have difficulty in getting out but this obviously can only be done on a local basis. 

As with all charities we have to find continuing sources for funding our work and all members are trying to think of ways to do this and will be actively taking part in sponsorship events wherever possible.

With the government cuts it is unlikely we can repeat the grants of previous years

We have been very lucky to have been introduced to Irwin Mitchell LLP a national legal firm who support national and local charities and they are prepared to make their resources and facilities available to us as well as some sponsorship and financial support.

It could be possible to interest them in localised amputee support groups generally as they already support the Limbless association nationally.