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'Brighton helped me to rebuild my life'

24 Jul 2020

Sarah Thompson explains how Albion in the Community continue to assist with her recovery from a motorbike accident despite being in lockdown

Five years ago Sarah Thompson was involved in a serious motorbike accident that left her with a brain injury and no work.

Her recovery has been long and challenging, but prior to the COVID-19 pandemic Sarah had been a regular for Brighton & Hove Albion Cerebral Palsy FC, which is run by the club's charity, Albion in the Community.

The fear that her usual support network of family and friends would not be able to help out during lockdown heightened Sarah's sense of isolation.

But thanks to Albion in the Community, she has stayed safe, connected and is looking positively to the future.

Staying connected

"It's been a case of rebuilding my life," said Sarah, who wears headphones to protect her from loud noises due to the hypersensitivity in her ears caused by her brain injury.

"My initial thought of lockdown was, 'Oh no, I'm going to be stuck at home completely alone without family, friends or anyone else who would usually support me.' It was just fear.

"Albion in the Community have helped me with a range of things. They have been doing Zoom meetings on a Saturday morning and the fitness classes were actually more intense than I expected - either that or I am extremely unfit now!"

Sarah also received ready-made meals during lockdown thanks to a joint-initiative with two local restaurants, which has helped to deliver more than 12,500 meals to the community in Brighton.

"I don't think I could explain how useful that has been," she added. "To actually see a friendly face in person, it makes your day, it almost makes your week. They have done a lot to boost spirits and help out in any way that they can." 

Paul Brackley, Disability Manager at Albion in the Community, understands how important staying connected has been for Sarah. 

"She's come along and been part of the team for the past couple of years and helped us really grow," Paul said of Sarah, who was voted Player of the Season by her team-mates last year.

"It's been great for us to see her blossoming in terms of gaining her confidence back along with her physical and mental wellbeing.

"We're really keen to continue to just continue doing whatever we can. That sense of being able to help provide someone with a bit of purpose, a bit of encouragement, a bit of connection is really important."

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See: Coronavirus, clubs and community

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