The Brain Charity's 2023 Cost of Living Appeal

by The Brain Charity in Liverpool, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 25th December 2023 we successfully raised £16,069 ( + est. £741.50 Gift Aid ) with 197 supporters in 42 days

To help people with neurological conditions get through the cost-of-living crisis.

Project by The Brain Charity

About The Brain Charity 

Did you know there are more than 600 neurological conditions (conditions affecting the brain, spine and nervous system)? This includes well-known ones like stroke, brain injury, epilepsy and dementia, as well as very rare illnesses like transverse myelitis and Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. 

Combined, they affect 1 in 6 people in the UK. The Brain Charity is the only national charity to be here for every single one of them. We champion neurodiversity and help people reach their potential. 

Each year we provide free practical help, emotional support and social activities to thousands of people affected by neurological conditions across the country.  

The impact of a neurological diagnosis can be devastating. Life can become very lonely and frightening. 

People lose control of their lives, with many facing unemployment, social isolation and, in particular, financial struggles. 

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The cost-of-living crisis 

Living with a long-term health condition has always been expensive. This means that the cost-of-living crisis has hit those with neurological conditions hardest: last year we surveyed our community and found that 1 in 3 regularly struggle to make ends meet.

Things have gotten significantly worse in recent years. In 2019, disabled households faced an average of £583 in extra costs each month. By 2023, this figure has skyrocketed to £975 every month. 

These costs are not optional extras: they are the essential goods and services that enable people to live their lives: 

  • A person who has lost the use of their legs following a stroke needs a powered wheelchair in order to get round. 
  • Public transport is inaccessible for many people with disabilities, so they need to take more private-hire vehicles. 
  • Cold weather can exacerbate nerve pain, meaning someone with trigeminal neuralgia needs the heating on more frequently.

These are the costs that welfare benefits are supposed to cover; in practice, however, they do not go nearly far enough. 

With energy prices currently skyrocketing, many of our community will be the hardest hit and are having to make the choice between heating and eating this winter. 

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This Christmas, please help us to help some of society’s most vulnerable people 

All of the funds raised will go towards The Brain Charity’s information and advice service which aims to help people affected by neurological conditions improve their financial situation and become more confident managing their money. 

This includes: 

  • Guiding them through the process of signing up for and using online banking services.  
  • Demonstrating to them how to pay bills online and compare bill prices using reputable comparison sites.  
  • Supporting them to apply for welfare benefits or hardship grants.  
  • Helping them understand the importance of budgeting.

One of the biggest barriers to financial independence is low levels of employment. Less than 1 in 5 people with a neurological condition is in full-time work. 

Our Employment and Law Officer helps people to stay in work by supporting with discrimination queries and asking for reasonable adjustments. 

Hear from people we’ve helped:

Sarah, 37, experienced  a head injury and diagnoses of dystonia and functional neurological disorder. This led to  spasms that left her unable to breathe, resulting in her getting only 2 hours of sleep each night. The Brain Charity helped her to apply for funding for a specialist cyclo-therapy bed after a spasm closed her throat during sleep and stopped her breathing. 

Sarah said: “No one has £10,000 after they’ve lost their career, and it had been years since I’d had a proper night’s sleep. It’s already made a huge difference to how my symptoms affect me. It’s been amazing and I’m so glad to have it. The Brain Charity has given me such incredible support and I’m so grateful for it.” 

  

Mum-of-three Lindsey had to give up her well-paid job after being diagnosed with MS and didn’t know how her family was going to survive. The Brain Charity helped Lindsey find out what financial support she was entitled to and apply for it. 

Lindsey said: “My whole world had fallen off a cliff. I had gone from being a highly paid, hard-working professional to wondering how my family was going to survive. It was just horrifying. They explained all the help I was entitled to – I had no idea about any of it and would never have known PIP and ESA even existed, let alone how to apply or be able to fill out all the forms myself. When you’re diagnosed with MS, it’s like falling into a sinkhole. There is no sense, and nothing to hold onto. Until you’ve been there, you have no idea how life-changing it is.” 

 

Kamani has functional neurological disorder and despite being award PIP previously, was denied when she reapplied. The Brain Charity helped Kamani challenge the DWP’s decision, successfully representing her at her mandatory reconsideration hearing and securing her award for the next eight years. 

“Emily was an enormous help. She represented me for my appeal and kept in contact with the DWP until they sorted out a date for the tribunal. Without The Brain Charity’s help, I don’t think I would have achieved this success at all. Emily is an angel sent from heaven. The case being resolved in this manner gave me so much relief and joy.” 

 

Gerard lost his job during the Covid-19 pandemic while recovering from a stroke. He developed epilepsy as a result of his stroke and went from being financially independent to jobless and unable to work. The Brain Charity helped Gerard apply for PIP and he was awarded the enhanced rate and a back payment. 

“I came to The Brain Charity out of desperation. It had been a really low time, and I thought I was going to lose my home. I didn’t even know things like PIP existed, because no one tells you.  I’m so grateful The Brain Charity was able to support me – receiving PIP was such a weight off my mind. Having that help to get the financial support I needed, pay some bills and pay off the mortgage let me get things straight and gave me some breathing space. 

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£30 or more

5 of 25 claimed

The Brain Charity beanie

Display your support for the 1 in 6 people with neurological conditions with your very own The Brain Charity beanies--sleek black printed with 'The Brain Charity' logo in colour.

£10 or more

10 of 25 claimed

The Brain Charity pin badge

Wear your support with pride with our badge of honour! High quality metal pin badge showing your partnership with The Brain Charity

£20 or more

3 of 50 claimed

The Brain Charity dog bandana

Stand out from the crowd and help spread awareness when you take your pooch for walkies in our adorable doggie fashion accessory. A great addition to your furry friend’s wardrobe!

£50 or more

1 of 50 claimed

Meal and drink for two at The Brain Charity

Treat a friend or loved one to a meal out! Come down to The Brain Food Café at our centre in Liverpool and choose a meal from our extensive menu of traditional comfort foods packed full of antioxidant-rich ingredients that taste good and help support a healthy brain.

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