Two brain injury charities on either side of the Tyne have merged to improve the support available.
Headway Gateshead and South Tyneside and Headway Newcastle and North Tyneside officially joined forces to become Headway Tyneside.
The new group, based at Walkergate Park as well as various different locations in the community, will support hundreds of survivors and their families from across the region who are coming to terms with the consequences of brain injury.
The services at the new charity, which will initially support around 100 people, includes family and carer support, mentoring schemes, drop-in sessions and social activities.
John Davis, chairman of Headway Tyneside, said: “This merger is a great thing for the people of Tyneside and will help us expand our services, as well as work more efficiently to provide the crucial support that brain injury survivors and their families deserve.
“A brain injury can affect every aspect of you: Walking, talking, thinking and feeling.
“It can mean losing the life you once led and the person you once were.
“Imagine your life changing in an instant. Suddenly, you’re unable to complete the most basic of everyday tasks that most of us take for granted.
“That’s where Headway comes in.
“I’m very proud to be involved in the work to create this new charity and I’m certain our local community will support us as we strive to help those people affected by brain injuries in their area.”
Charles Southam, 28, from Bedlington, is a service user of the new charity after sustaining his brain injury when he was only four-months-old.
He said: “I love attending Headway as it gives me a chance to meet people who are living with the same challenges as me.
“It’s just like one big family, with everyone supporting each other.
“Attending has really built up my confidence and helped me come to terms with some of the hard things that life throws at you.”
The merger marked Action for Brain Injury Week’s campaign, A New Me.
A New Me is designed to give a voice to people affected by brain injury – individuals living with brain injury, as well as family members/carers – in order to raise awareness of how lives and futures can change in an instant.
More information is available at www.anewme.org.uk