Frequently Asked Questions

I have done a Back Up course before, can I do another one?

Due to demand for our courses, we give priority to people that have never done a Back Up course before and that need to attend a course to improve their confidence, motivation and independence.

If you have done a course before, you are welcome to apply, but please be clear on your application form about why you want to do another course.

Each application is considered individually, and you may be offered a place on the reserve list if you have done a course before or if the course that you want to do is currently full.

Can I bring my friend/partner/sibling on a course with me?

We understand that if you have never been on a Back Up course before it can seem quite daunting. This is perfectly normal, and we have all been there ourselves.  However, in our experience it does not work well bringing someone with you that you already know well.  This is because one important aim of the course is to push people out of their comfort zones and encourage them to try new things independently. As everyone on the course is in this position, it enables everyone to get to know each other more quickly and generally maximise good team dynamics.

There will be plenty of support for you on the course from the experienced and trained volunteers, in particular the group leaders and care team.

If you think this is a problem for you, don’t just stop there; please do give us a call and chat to one of our spinal cord injured team members about it.  We are really happy to chat through your concerns and can talk from our own experience so you have an idea of what to expect.  You will also be able to talk to the spinal cord injured group leader on your course before you go, so that you already have a connection with at least one person.

I need assistance with my personal care; do I need to bring my PA with me?

On every Back Up course (except taster days) there is a volunteer care team, consisting of nurses and/or personal assistants (PAs) trained in working with people with SCI. They will work with any individuals requiring assistance with their personal care.

If you are vented, you do normally need to bring your care team with you. Please call the office if this is the case and we will work with you to talk through your needs and plan with you how it will work best.

Money is quite tight for me at the moment.  I don’t know if I can afford to come on a course.  Do I have to make a donation?

If you are spinal cord injured you do not need to donate anything towards the course if you cannot afford to. Our courses are for you and we do not want you to be put off applying due to lack of money.

Any amount that you can afford to donate would be much appreciated. You can also contribute a smaller amount and/or pay in instalments if that helps – please don’t let money stop you – give us a call for a chat, we can make it work.

I have other health problems in addition to my SCI, can I still come on a course?

It is not unusual for people to come on courses who have other health problems in addition to their SCI. What really helps us is if you can talk to us about it and we can work together to plan and support you, and to ensure you have the best possible experience on the course.

I have been injured less than a year; can I come on a course?

Yes, so long as you get approval from your consultant that you are medically fit to do a course.

I have been injured for many years; can I come on a course?

Yes, we regularly work with people who have been injured for a long time, especially if they are still adjusting to their injury, dealing with changes in their life, or planning changes. 

Is Back Up only for people who have been injured through accidents?

No, although this is how many people get their SCI. Every year we support a significant number of people that have sustained their injuries through non-traumatic causes such as Transverse Myelitis, tumours, surgical errors and in other ways. 

Can Back Up arrange transport for me to go on a course?

On all courses, you are responsible for making your own travel arrangements to and from home to the meeting point/course venue. For skiing courses, Back Up books all flights and transfers, all  you have to do is arrive at the hotel or airport on time!

If you are having difficulty making travel arrangements, please let us know. Sometimes there may be other course participants coming from your area, so we may be able to arrange for you to get a lift from someone else attending the course; however this is not always possible.

I do not have a spinal cord injury, but I am in a wheelchair. Can I access any of your services?

Our services are only for people with SCI spinal cord injury (talk to us if you are unsure!).  However, many of the activity centres we use are accessible for people with a range of disabilities, and we will be happy to give you their details so you can contact them direct.