Family members and caregivers for survivors of brain injuries in Chatham-Kent came together back in the 1990’s to offer modest programming developed to assist those negatively impacted by an acquired or traumatic brain injury. From these humble beginnings that were offered in a Church basement, the organization as grown significantly over the years.
New Beginnings’ Chatham-Kent facility is now located in a 9,000 square foot building — located at 9 Maple Leaf Drive in Chatham — that is equipped with numerous amenities including an exercise area, craft and games areas, television/seating area, a large wood shop, and quiet rooms. The exterior of the building offers seating alongside the beautiful floral gardens and pond, and there are even raised-bed vegetables gardens that provide produce in the summer months.
The Club supports hundreds of members and their family/caregivers, and has numerous volunteers. The Club’s activities are funded, in part, through the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network and the United Way of Chatham-Kent, as well as fundraising activities/events.
The Club is open from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., with scheduled programming running from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. each day. On average, the Club sees upwards of 25 members each day. With new programs such as therapeutic exercise and swim classes being offered, membership continues to expand.
The idea to start a Stroke Recovery Association stems from the Outreach Program at the Marshall Gowland Manor, Home for the Aged, Sarnia. Karen Irie, Supervisor of Special Services, who coordinated the Outreach Program, sent a survey to known stroke survivors, hospitals and social service agencies to discover if there was an interest in forming a group of stroke survivors and their families. A positive response was received, wih support coming from not only stroke survivors but agencies like Red Cross, Home Care, V.O.N., Lambton Elderly Outreach, Twilight Haven Home for the aged.
The first meeting was held February 1, 1983 at Marshal Gowland Manor. Thirty eight people attended, twenty eight were stroke survivors or family members, and ten were service providers. At that meeting, volunteers came forward to form an Executive Committee. A second Stroke Recovery Association meeting was held in March and saw even more interest and membership. Stroke Recovery Association Sarnia-Lambton became incorporated April 28 1992.
The Club supports more than one hundred members and their family/caregivers, and has several very dedicated volunteers.
The Club is open from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., with scheduled programming running from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. each day. On average, the Club sees approximately 20 members each day. With programs such as a therapeutic exercise and swim classes and Zumba being offered, membership continues to expand.
The Club’s activities are funded by the Sarnia-Lambton United Way as well as fundraising activities/events.
With similar programming and services, it made sense for the Brain Injury Association of Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton Stroke Recovery Association to join forces as an integrated organization. The Club’s staff work together to share information and resources that will allow both sites to continue to expand through awareness/education and increased programming.