Joining the dots to independence – Back Up empowers wheelchair users through new social media campaign

back-up-join-the-dotsBack Up, a charity dedicated to transforming lives following paralysis, has today launched Join the Dots, a brand new social media campaign to encourage wheelchair users to re-gain their independence following devastating spinal cord injuries (SCIs). The campaign is launched on Spinal Cord Injuries Day 2014, raising the public profile of spinal injuries across the UK. Join the Dots is a series of unique videos featuring Back Up wheelchair skills trainers and supporters demonstrating skills to inspire people with SCIs to re-gain their independence through Back Up wheelchair skills training.

Join the Dots showcases Back Up wheelchair skills training. The campaign comprises three different types of videos, created by the Back Up trainers and supporters, all with a clear message promoting wheelchair skills courses. One supporter is Jane Sowerby, an Outreach and Support Coordinator for Back Up and Paralympic skier who competed in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympics. Jane explains why she is backing the campaign: “I was introduced to Back Up shortly after I was injured and attending one of their courses completely transformed my life. I’m really excited to be part of Join the Dots to help spread the word of Back Up’s fantastic services to people with SCIs.”  The videos have been launched on Back Up’s website via their YouTube channel and are being shared through social media channels including Facebook and Twitter.

Back Up CEO, Louise Wright explains why Join the Dots is so important for people with SCIs across the UK: “Spinal Cord Injuries Day is a key event for us to reach out to wheelchair users who need a helping hand to re-discover their independence after a devastating injury, so we are delighted to launch Join the Dots. The campaign is a positive message to show people what they can do despite their disability and we want to inspire others to get involved, whether that be signing up to a wheel chair skills session or inspiring others by sharing their own video.”

The ‘skills’ videos show Back Up’s wheelchair skills trainers tackling everyday challenges such as getting up and down steps, pushing one-handed and spatial awareness. It’s these seemingly simple things that can be extremely daunting when new to a wheelchair. Have you ever thought how you would get from your kitchen to your lounge with a hot cup of tea while trying to move in your chair? Well these are just some of the skills that are covered by Back Up’s wheelchair skills training sessions. The courses are open to all people with SCIs, whether they are newly injured or have been a wheelchair user for some time. Led by experienced wheelchair trainers, who are themselves wheelchair users, the wheelchair skills training sessions are able to offer a first-hand perspective that complements the equally valuable work of the healthcare professionals involved in the rehabilitation of people with SCIs.

Back Up also hopes to inspire and motivate experienced wheelchair users to create and share their own videos and has devised a competition for the best video. The winner will receive a digital camera. You can found out more about the campaign and how to enter at www.backuptrust.org.uk/jointhedots

About Back Up

Back Up is a national charity that helps people of all ages and backgrounds rebuild their confidence and independence following a devastating spinal cord injury. www.backuptrust.org.uk

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