Important information and updates about coronavirus and our services

a person washing hands in line with coronavirus advice.

The team at Back Up are closely monitoring government advice on coronavirus. We know that the situation is changing daily and we will use this page to update you with any changes to our services.

We are continuing to look at innovative ways to keep in touch and to keep delivering across our services. Updates to our services, including new offerings will be added to this page.

Over the past six weeks we have launched two new services:

  • Back Up Lounge. This is an online space for everyone affected by spinal cord injury to chat with like-minded people in a fun and positive environment where no conversation topic is off-limits. This forum is held every Friday at 3pm on Zoom. Our lounges change weekly and you can register your interest here.
  • Peer Support LIVE. This is a dedicated online forum for those who are newly injured and their families currently, or recently discharged from spinal centres.

If you are due to join one of our courses or take part in a wheelchair skills session please check our website and social media channels for regular updates on changes to our usual services. Our phone support and mentoring service is not affected and will be running as normal.

Our friends at Spinal Injuries Association have published advice specifically on covid-19 and spinal cord injury. This includes detailed fact sheets for carers.


Friday 26 June

We have been continually monitoring the covid-19 pandemic, and we have decided we will not be re-opening the Back Up office in London before 1 October 2020. As the situation evolves, it may also be possible that we extend this. In the meantime our fantastic team will continue to work from home, transforming lives affected by spinal cord injury.

Tuesday 24 June

We have updated our information section on children and young people with a spinal cord injury and covid-19.

“Following the updated information from Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Dr Graham advises that many children with spinal cord injury can stop shielding unless they are in group A (please see this link for categories that fall into this group).”

Thursday 21 May

Mentor Drop in Clinic: We ran the first of our mentor drop in clinics on Thursday 21 May with 11 mentors in attendance. These will hopefully become a regular occurrence where mentors can log onto our webinar and support each other with tricky mentee situations. A member of staff is always in attendance to offer advice and support. We hope to run these sessions every 6 weeks and carry this service on post lock down.

Our seventh Peer Support LIVE session took place in Glasgow on Thursday 21 May. We have now run 11 of these sessions across 8 different centres with the support of their staff.

Friday 15 May

We marked Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day with our charity partners, Aspire and Spinal Injuries Association. We raised awareness of spinal cord injury at any age through six personal stories all representing a different life stage; school, university, work, family and retirement.

They each told us how their injury affects their day-to-day life and shared their ambitions for the future as well as how they’ve  grown with confidence since sustaining their injury, overcoming initial challenges to continue living life to the full. They wanted to share their stories to support others at this time, because the wider spinal cord injury community were there to support them when they needed it. We asked them and the wider community to join our poster campaign and share a piece of advice to someone in a similar situation. We’re so happy to have seen so many supporters, Paralympians and friends join us.

We also had 45 people join us for this week’s Back Up Lounge, the most since starting six weeks ago. This was a fantastic end to marking the day.

Thursday 7 May

We are running three mentor development sessions (90 mins each) in lieu of cancellation of the development day scheduled in April. Our first session took place on the 7th May and there were 30 mentors in attendance. Each session’s theme is different and next week’s theme is around Legal advice post spinal cord injury.

Friday 1 May

We had a special guest joining us in this week’s Back Up Lounge, Bentley the Goat. Bentley lives at Bucks Goat Centre and was live streamed into the session to bring a smile to our faces. We thought Bentley was a fantastic addition and really brought the fun element to the lounge when we all came back together. Each week we will be doing something different, so make sure you keep coming back.

Thursday 16 April

Being able to confidently get around in your wheelchair or powerchair is so important so that you can live the life you want to. Our wheelchair skills trainers have produced a range of videos demonstrating certain skills, in lieu of our regular face-to-face training sessions at spinal centres. Our 10-video playlist covers basic pushing, back wheel balancing, and tackling kerbs amongst others. Safety is our biggest priority, so we also have a video showing how to safely spot someone when practicing these skills, ideal for Personal Assistants (PAs) or family members.

Thursday 9 April

To celebrate Easter we teamed up with Neurokinex to host a virtual easter egg hunt. Parents were sent a pack of five downloadable eggs for their children to colour in initially before hiding and giving their children clues to their whereabouts. A competition was held for the best coloured egg and this was won by Lucie, for her sequined egg.

Friday 3 April

Kate has written a blog for us where she tells us the whole range of emotions she’s feeling whilst parenting a child with a spinal cord injury during this lockdown period.

Friday 3 April

Today we’re launching the weekly Back Up Lounge. This is our online space for anyone affected by spinal cord injury to come and talk to like-minded people about; how you’re feeling, what you’re up to during these strange times and have some fun in a positive environment together. We believe that having a connection with other people in a similar situation can make a difference. Like all Back Up services, The Back Up Lounge is peer-led, delivered by our trained volunteers. We want you to drive this service, so topics up for discussion will be chosen by you. If you’d like to join in, follow this link.

Tuesday 31 March

The past few weeks may have been tricky, especially if you are affected by spinal cord injury. You may be feeling anxious after spending time self-isolating, or frustrated that your day to day routine has changed significantly and suddenly because of covid-19. That’s why we’ve gathered a collection of external links to resources, applications and advice that may be able to help you during this time.

Monday 30 March

We have worked collaboratively with Dr Allison Graham, Consultant Physician in spinal cord injury (with specialist interest in paediatric injury) to produce specific information on Covid-19 and children with spinal cord injury.

Monday 23 March

The news about school closures can be quite confusing. On the one hand government advice is for anyone with an underlying health condition to self-isolate – but we also understand schools will still remain open for some disabled children or for those who have an Education Healthcare Plan (EHCP). We’d encourage parents to speak directly with their child’s school and their spinal centre if they have any specific questions around this. You can also visit the NHS website for more advice.

Although we have had to postpone our upcoming courses for young people, Back Up remains the only charity in the UK to provide services for young people affected by spinal cord injury. Our phone lines are open if you or a loved one needs a listening ear or someone to vent to.

Friday 20 March

Back Up is excited to launch The Spinal Circuit. This is a solo, virtual challenge for you to help us raise the vital funds we need in the coming months to keep projects alive and ensure we are here to support people affected by spinal cord injury now and in the future. We are aiming to raise £10,000 through this challenge.

The Spinal Circuit encourages you to walk, run, wheel, or cycle as far as you can around your local area. You can also complete the challenge on a piece of exercise equipment in your own home and record the distance you covered. We’re challenging you to set yourself an individual target and contribute to our total distance. We want the Back Up community as a whole to complete as many virtual circuits around all 11 spinal units in the UK as possible before Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day on 15 May. One complete circuit is a whopping 1799km!

Thursday 19 March 

We have currently suspended our in person, face-to-face services, including our April courses – our upmost priority is the safety and health of all our service users, volunteers, and staff.

Despite the fact that we may not be able to see you in person for a while, we will never stop being there for everyone affected by spinal cord injury.

  • Our telephone support & phone mentoring service is available to people with spinal cord injury and their family.
  • For parents of children with a spinal cord injury wondering what to do now if their children can’t go into school, our specialist education advice service is available.
  • We are also on hand to provide vocational support whether you are working from home or thinking about going back to work.
  • Our phone lines are open, so please don’t hesitate to call us on 020 8875 1805.

Tuesday 17 March

At the moment, there is a lot of information going around about coronavirus. Some of this information may be inaccurate, false, or possibly harmful. Social media in particular has seen an increase in misinformation being shared. As the situation continues to develop, it’s important to get your news and updates from trusted sources.

We recommend getting updates from official sources – such as the daily briefings from the prime minister and government. Medical advice should be sought only directly from the NHS.

If you need trusted advice specifically on coronavirus and spinal cord injury, SIA are continuing to publish factsheets on their website.

Monday 16 March

The outreach team have been in regular contact with spinal centres. Given the situation for the time being we will not be going in to centres. This means we will not be delivering Wheelchair Skills training, Wheelchair Skills Extra, Wacky Wednesday or patient education.