London hospital transforming lives of patients with brain injuries awarded grant for sports programme

The UK’s oldest independent hospital and medical charity has received £119k for a sports programme for people living with severe neurological disabilities.

City Bridge Trust, City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, has given the grant to the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability (RHN), a London-based hospital with special expertise in looking after patients with chronic and complex conditions resulting from brain injuries or degenerative neurological conditions.

The hospital is renowned for being a pioneer of cutting edge technology which enhances patients’ quality of life over and beyond the traditional rehabilitation model. The funding will go towards a sports programme helping long–term patients to lead as active and fulfilled lives as possible.

It will include sessions of boccia -a Paralympic sport similar to boules, swimming activities and other mixed sports.

The grant will benefit 120 people every year through the Wandsworth hospital.

Alison Gowman, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust committee, said:

“The sports and recreation programme offers such a valuable break from hospital routines and it’s vital such services continue to be offered to patients with severe disabilities resulting from brain injuries.

“A huge proportion of patients at the hospital are long-term patients, and occupy 123 out of 227 beds. There is a clear need for such recreational activities which without doubt have huge benefits for the patients and their families.

“City Bridge Trust is committed to tackling disadvantage across the capital and making London a fairer and better place to live.”

Jane Beaven, Director of Fundraising and Communications at the Royal Hospital for Neuro- disability, added:

"All of the sports activities are entirely dependent on voluntary donations.

“This grant from City Bridge Trust will ensure that we can continue to offer sports activities for people who are living with a complex disability, while at the same time improving the environment in which patients and residents receive care."

City Bridge Trust is the capital’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital. The Trust has awarded around 7,500 grants totalling over £360 million since it first began in 1995. It helps achieve the Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.

Case study- Dr Richard Bennett’s story

In 2011 Dr Richard Bennett, a leading biochemist, was working in Portugal researching plants that could help in the fight against cancer, when he suffered a massive stroke. He was rushed to hospital where a specialist team operated to remove the blood clot from his brain. Remarkably, Richard pulled through, but the stroke had left him ‘Locked In’, unable to speak or move a muscle, except to blink.

Richard’s outlook seemed bleak but in 2013 he was admitted to The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in Putney. The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability, helps people to regain their mobility and independence following severe brain injury or illness. We give the long term care, understanding and technology needed to help people adjust to their new life, living with a disability. Over 350,000 people suffer from a head injury or stroke, causing debilitating brain damage every year. Many of these patients will be left unable to speak.

Richard desperately needed a way to speak again, so our Speech and Language Therapy Team introduced him to Eye Gaze. Eye Gaze technology tracks a person’s eyes as they move across a screen, allowing them to type, speak, browse the internet, even change the channel on their TV. Two years on, Richard has reconnected with the outside world. He chats regularly to friends and family and is even back advising and swapping ideas with his research colleagues.

Without the Eye Gaze system severely disabled people like Richard would be completely reliant on the presence of trained carers to communicate their needs. With it they can engage with the world on their own terms once more. Four years after his stroke when Richard was asked to describe life with his Eye Gaze machine. His response: Freedom!

With the support of staff and volunteers, Richard also takes part in the weekly Boccia sessions, giving him much enjoyment, a sense of achievement and the identity of being part of the ‘RHN Rollers’ team. The Boccia team is one of a variety of different sports available at the RHN as part of our leisure activities programme. Sports provide people at the RHN with an opportunity to socialise, learn new skills and remain as cognitively and physically active as possible. We are entirely reliant on voluntary funding for all of the sports activities.



Kristina Drake| Media Officer, Public Services

City of London Corporation

M: 07710860884

D: 020 7332 1125