Back Up inspires Dutch organisation to set up new programme

Back Up’s unique family mentoring service has inspired a Dutch spinal cord injury charity 
to set up a similar programme to support family members of people with spinal cord injury (SCI).


Earlier this month, Justin Layzell, Back Up’s Mentoring Services Manager, was invited to visit Dwarslaesie Organanisatie Nederland (Dutch SCI Association) to give a presentation about the family mentoring service provided by Back Up. 

Family members often struggle to adapt after their loved ones are discharged from hospital. The family mentoring service gives advice, guidance and support to family members of people with SCI. 

Mentors can help relatives to feel more positive about the future.
Back Up has been offering this service since 2010 and has helped 115 people so far. 

Dutch SCI Association has more than 1,300 members and aims to assist people with SCI. They organise and promote contact between people with SCI and their relatives. Their goal is to adapt Back Up's family mentoring service to the needs of Dutch people. 

“It was a great opportunity to share my knowledge about mentoring with Dutch SCI Association,” Layzell said. “I hope my presentation was helpful for the organisation and that they can use the information I provided to start planning their new programme.”

Social Scientist Helena Wiersma was of the people who attended the presentation. Others include Gonnie Kugel, Dutch SCI Association board member, and Joe Dekkers, President of Dutch SCI Association. 

 “We are impressed by the professionalism of mentors, how they are selected, trained, matched and supported at Back Up,” Dekkers said. “We are convinced that this is the way to go.”

Dekkers will keep Back Up informed about their progress and will consult the charity if they need further support while setting up the programme.