JMW provides fundraising boost for spinal cord injured people returning to the workplace

31/01/2014

JMW Solicitors has bolstered its support of national charity, the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA), by providing funding for them to retain a full-time vocational support officer.

Jamie Rhind, 35, working on behalf of the charity across England and Wales, provides support, information and advice to spinal cord injured people considering a return to work, education, training or voluntary work.  

The £5,000 sponsorship by Manchester-based JMW, experts in helping people who have sustained spinal injuries due to accidents or medical negligence, comes in addition to an annual corporate sponsorship JMW provides SIA.

Jamie understands the physical, mental and emotional upheaval that accompanies serious injury, having sustained damage to his spinal cord in a diving accident in 1998.  He said “I was 19  when I broke my neck, and to be honest thought my life was over. During my stay in hospital I was fortunate enough to have a chance encounter with an outpatient who had been treated at the same hospital I was in.  He showed me that it is absolutely possible to rebuild your life following a spinal cord injury and have everything that you expect in it.  In the nine months I spent as an inpatient that meeting was the most important.

“Once I’d started to move on from my injury, I knew I wanted to get involved with SIA and be able to help others to feel empowered and regain the confidence and self-esteem that a spinal cord injury can rob you of.  Having the opportunity to demonstrate what can be achieved; a vocation, a sense of purpose and being able to lead a normal life, that’s an incredibly rewarding experience and one that provides a vital lifeline for people.”

Chris Sutton, partner and joint head of personal injury at JMW Solicitors, said: “I have got to know Jamie over the course of the last 12 months through JMW’s sponsorship of SIA and I am delighted that we are able to support his role.  He is an inspirational character, and I am sure that he would be a perfect friend and confidant to the many people he supports in his role.  I know he makes a huge difference to the lives of those who have sustained a spinal cord injury, imparting a sense of hope and helping people to set goals to get back to work.”

Eddie Jones, head of medical negligence at JMW, recently secured £2.6 million in compensation for a woman whose life was devastated by a serious spinal injury caused by medical errors, leaving her with permanent cauda equina syndrome.  Ensuring individuals who have suffered spinal injuries receive post-injury support is a vital part of Jamie and SIA’s work.

Jamie’s role as a vocational support officer is a specialist position that goes beyond peer support and focuses exclusively on career and educational development.  He provides information, advice and encouragement to patients across England and Wales’ nine specialist spinal cord injury centres, including education presentations aimed at patients in the first six months of injury, exploring the options and support available. He also runs a vocational support clinic in each centre; offering one-on-one sessions with him, an occupational therapist and a member of the National Careers Service.

He continues: “My job is to assist those who have sustained a spinal cord injury consider their circumstances and identify how they can move forward; whether that’s returning to a previous role, or looking at a different job as a consequence of their injury.  So, for example, someone who had an office-based or academic role may be able to return in a similar capacity, but for someone working in a manual position, it will obviously be difficult to go back to that.

“I help people understand what their transferrable skills are, what their interests are, what their options are, and help them to move forward. When you’re first injured, your expectations can often be set fairly low, because you aren’t aware of what can be achieved. There is no reason why the vast majority of people with spinal cord injuries can’t re-engage with the workplace. The role a vocation plays in our lives, whether it’s paid employment, voluntary work or education, cannot be underestimated, and I’m passionate about ensuring that everyone who sustains a spinal cord injury has the opportunity to achieve their vocational goals, enabling them to lead productive, fulfilled lives.”

The Spinal Injuries Association supports all those affected by spinal cord injuries, whether caused through accident, genetics, infection or disease.  If you, or someone you know, has sustained a spinal cord injury and you would like more information about the service Jamie offers, log on to http://www.spinal.co.uk/page/vocationalsupport or contact him on 07800 854 605.  

 

Ends

 

For more information:

Danielle Gibson

0161 828 8349

danielle.gibson@jmw.co.uk

 

Note to Editors

JMW Solicitors LLP is one of the leading Manchester law firms and offers a broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients.  We are committed to providing legal services in a cost effective and timely manner. 

JMW’s award-winning Personal Injury team is headed up by leading lawyers Chris Sutton and Richard Powell, who have over forty years combined experience.  The team was awarded Legal Services Team of the Year 2013 at the national Claims Innovation Awards and Claimant Team of the Year 2011 at the national Personal Injury Awards.  It is ranked in Tier 2 of the Legal 500 and Chambers 2014 in Manchester and surrounds, and has reached the shortlist for Personal Injury team of the year in the Manchester Legal Awards for the past two years.  Made up of 30 fee earners, it is the largest department in JMW and recorded a turnover in excess of £5m in the financial year 2012/2013.  The team has represented thousands of individuals across a diverse range of cases, from road accidents and accidents at work to public liability issues and mesothelioma, securing millions of pounds in compensation for its clients.   

JMW’s Clinical Negligence team is headed up by leading lawyer, Eddie Jones.

www.jmw.co.uk

 



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