Seeing first-hand how Back Up empowers young people | Bolt Burdon Kemp Seeing first-hand how Back Up empowers young people | Bolt Burdon Kemp

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Seeing first-hand how Back Up empowers young people

As part of Bolt Burdon Kemp’s ongoing support of spinal cord injury charity Back Up, I had the pleasure of reuniting with the Youth Advisory Group (YAG) to hear more about the change they want to see in the world around them. These young people may face battles in their daily lives, but I saw how Back Up empowers the young people who they support.

It was a gloriously sunny Sunday in January when I headed to adaptive sports park Access Adventures in Staines for the charity’s latest YAG training weekend. This was quite a contrast to the last weekend, which was altogether a much wetter experience, but I still didn’t make it into the water!

It was lovely to meet some of the YAG from the previous weekend as well as some new faces and to hear about the ideas that they had for the future of Back Up.

It was also really interesting to listen to the group talk about what they wanted from a city skills course which is running in a few months in Bristol (there is still space to sign up!).  Aimed at 13-17s the course will cover indoor and outdoor wheelchair skills and include loads of activities.

I just loved the fact Back Up was seeking input from those who the course will benefit the most, because as I said in my previous blog – it is all too easy to assume that we, as adults, know what’s best.

The past few years have been metamorphic for Back Up. Their Transforming Lives Strategy for 2021 to 2025 included some ambitious goals including its “Thriving at any age” target. The aims of this goal, aimed specifically at children and young people, is to ensure all those with a spinal cord injury are fully included in their education and their voice is heard, by 2025.

Back Up will provide support to schools, colleges and universities to ensure they are meeting the needs of the pupil. It also aims to collaborate with the NHS to ensure children and young people with spinal cord injury can access the care, equipment and social support they need.

The existence of the YAG is a testament to Back Up’s dedication to ensuring that children and young people with spinal cord injury are given a voice. In addition to that the mentoring services provided not just to those with spinal cord injury, but their families as well continue to make a huge difference to people’s lives.

As Back Up enters its final year to hit this target, it is clear the strategy has had a huge impact on the lives of those living with spinal cord injury across all age groups.

In 21/22 Back Up supported 1,278 individuals 3,000 times. In 23/24 they have already supported 2,317 individuals an astounding 23,486 times and the year has not even finished yet.

Those are some amazing results and Bolt Burdon Kemp is incredibly proud to continue to support Back Up in its endeavours.

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