Physio Matters Ambassador Scheme recognises clients who have experience in and are passionate about a sport or activity within their rehab and will mentor other clients to engage in that activity and reap the benefits.
Each year, Physio Matters asks a number of clients to take on an Ambassador role and represent and promote their sport or activity for 12 months. They mentor other clients who are new to their particular sport and help promote the activity across the Brain Injury community.
Our aim is to bring together clients who have an interest in, love or passion for a sport or activity in our Physio Active programme which has really benefited their rehab – and who want to share that experience and understanding with others.
Watch the video above of the scheme launch and hear the Ambassadors explain how much their role means to them.
Uniting people by ability not disability
The Ambassador Scheme aims to unite people through their common interests, their abilities and what they can do and achieve, rather than by their condition or disability.
What do the Ambassadors do?
The Physio Matters Ambassadors will complete a series of mentorship sessions with clients over 12 months. This could be done in several ways, such as:
- meeting a new client who needs some help or confidence building when it comes to rehab or using a particular sport or activity
- supporting a client who wants to try the sport for the first time, and talking them through their own experiences as a first-time user
- being a buddy, who clients can talk to about their condition and how the sport or activity could help them with their rehab
- sharing lived experiences of living with brain injury, and the challenges and changes it brings
- acting as a role model, such as for clients who are newly diagnosed or who may not know anyone else with their condition, or how they cope with it
- being an example to clients who are just starting on their rehab journey to show what is possible and where the activity or sport could take them – whether making new friends, finding a new passion, or learning new skills. As with some Ambassadors, it can also lead to holidays abroad, work experience, social outings and much more.
Support for Ambassadors
Each Ambassador is supported by a ‘Buddy’ – a member of Physio Matters’ Clinical Team who they already know well. Their buddy works alongside them, helping to organize the mentorship sessions and providing extra guidance. Ambassadors are further supported by their family, case managers, and therapy teams.
Benefits for Ambassadors
Each Ambassador receives a trophy, certificate and T-shirt to acknowledge their role as Ambassadors. They are given a £50 Ambassador Bonus to buy equipment for their sport or activity and decide how to spend it. They help promote their sport or activity through attending events such as ‘Taster Days’. They also attend quarterly meetings with fellow Ambassadors to discuss progress and share ideas.
Preventing social isolation
A key aim of the Ambassador Scheme is to increase social participation for people with a brain injury, by providing more opportunities for people to interact, with support and guidance.
Social isolation is a common problem after a brain injury. In many cases, this stems from changes in personality, cognition and behaviour which may be difficult for friends and family to accept. Socialising can become more challenging, and sadly, many people withdraw altogether.
The Ambassador Scheme promotes social inclusion and Ambassadors will benefit from meeting and interacting with many people – clients, physios, people at the activity centres, other therapists and each other. Other clients will also benefit by being mentored by their Ambassador and meeting a wider range of people.
Five Ambassadors for 2020
This year, the scheme involves five clients who have shown great passion and commitment to a sport or activity as part of their rehabilitation. They will act as a Physio Matters Ambassador for 12 months and are pictured above, from left to right:
Mark Fardon – Ambassador for Golf
Stephen Derbyshire – Ambassador for Cycling
Dan Worsley – Ambassador for Skiing
Ikhlas Karim – Ambassador for Gym and Fitness
Zoe Conway – Ambassador for Walking Netball
What do our Ambassadors say?
Speaking at the Ambassador Scheme launch event, Physio Matters Ambassador for Cycling, Stephen Derbyshire said: “It’s a privilege to be asked to be part of this scheme and I am very proud to be given this Ambassador Role. I am excited to meet people who have been through similar experiences as myself and share our stories.”
Stephen sustained a brain injury whilst riding his bike in June 2018. He was an excellent cyclist before his accident and was keen to experience the thrill of being on two-wheels again. As part of his rehab, Physio Matters also arranged a demo of a Peloton bike, which Stephen now uses at home.
He added: “This is a great chance for me to share my experience of suffering a brain injury with extensive physical injuries too. Hopefully, I can offer some insight to those who are recovering, and I can learn from them too. I look forward to working with all the Ambassadors.”