TV star Tamzin Outhwaite has given Surrey-based charity Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF) a major boost after agreeing to become the patron of its major appeal.
Tamzin is supporting QEF’s ‘Edward Guinness Appeal’, which is raising £2.7m towards the development of its new Care and Rehabilitation Centre (CRC), providing life-changing neuro-rehabilitation for hundreds of people a year after a stroke or acquired brain injury.
The appeal, which is being led by long-standing supporter and former QEF Trustee, Edward Guinness CVO, was launched at the end of 2019 and has raised just over £700,000 already, with the aim of raising an additional £2m over the next two years.
Located in Surrey, the CRC is a purpose-built centre of neurorehabilitation expertise, specifically designed to reflect the needs of clients. Alongside modern, comfortable facilities, the building supports a holistic approach to therapy and care that enables the multi-disciplinary team to focus on physical and mental rehabilitation, as well as supporting the families for whom the event has also been life-changing. This holistic, person-centred approach is a signature element of QEF’s service.
The charity moved its neuro-rehabilitation service into the ground floor of this new bespoke centre in July 2020, so it had increased capacity to support the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic. Financially this was very challenging, especially as many planned fundraising activities were cancelled due to the pandemic. The funds raised through the Edward Guinness Appeal are essential to helping the charity meet the needs of individuals, many as a result of QEF’s commitment to supporting the NHS.
The building has significantly expanded the charity’s capacity, and it is now working closely with eight NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Group’s, taking patients directly from hospitals across the South East; playing a vital role in easing pressure on the NHS and enabling patients to start their neurorehabilitation during the pandemic.
“I’ve been aware of the financial strains that have been put on smaller charities like QEF since the pandemic hit and wanted to give my support so they can continue to make a real difference to the lives of people going through what can be a very difficult journey. One of my close friends works at the charity on the frontline supporting people with learning disabilities, so I often hear from him how hard everyone is working to ensure that they can continue with this vital support, which is needed now more than ever. I am proud to be a patron of this appeal.”
QEF’s new Care and Rehabilitation Centre means that the charity can expand its services and provide five distinct client pathways, with a varying mix of nursing care and neurorehabilitation therapies depending on individual need. They are also supporting post-COVID-19 patients who have suffered a neurological event such as a stroke or seizure during their treatment.
Karen Deacon, Chief Executive at QEF, said:
“Our Care and Rehabilitation Centre is a state-of-the-art building staffed with a dedicated team of skilled and caring people. Although we have found it financially very challenging, we are focused on supporting the NHS and becoming an extension of hospital services. We are accepting more patients directly from hospital quicker than before and providing life-changing expertise for people when they really need us.
“I would like to thank Tamzin Outhwaite for helping us to raise awareness of our work with the NHS and the importance of supporting The Edward Guinness Appeal. Fully funding the CRC is a vital part of QEF’s financial future and will enable us to continue to expand our life-changing work for people with acquired brain injuries, stroke or other neurological conditions. Everyone who contributes to our appeal will play an important part in developing these services, so we can continue to help people rebuild their lives after life-changing injuries or illnesses.”
Michael, a former client at the CRC, contracted COVID-19 in March 2020. He said:
“I didn’t have all of the chest problems that you were hearing a lot about at the time. I just went very foggy – foggy in my mind. I went to hospital and was put into an induced coma. I’ve lost so much memory – my short-term memory. I also had a seizure whilst I was in hospital, and then I came to QEF at the beginning of May.
“I had occupational therapy to help me do everyday things like cross the road, and money was something that I had to relearn as part of my therapy. With psychology, I was looking at how my brain was ticking and how well it was working. I had definitely improved – even though I wasn’t aware of it. They showed me some of the tests I’d done earlier, and I can see how much I had improved. I had lots of support whilst I was with QEF.”
Based in Surrey, QEF provides expert advice and life-changing services to almost 10,000 disabled children and adults every year, enabling people to develop key life skills, increase mobility and maximise their independence.
To find out more about the Care and Rehabilitation Centre and to support the Edward Guinness Appeal, please visit: www.qef.org.uk/edwardguinnessappeal.