SIA was founded in 1974 by Baroness Masham of Ilton, who sustained a spinal cord injury following a riding accident. Her primary concerns were the lack of specialist medical care available to newly injured people, and the dearth of information and support available to people living with a spinal cord injury once discharged from hospital.
47 years on and much has improved. However, even today, many spinal cord injured people do not receive the specialist care they need, which reduces their chances of achieving a fulfilled life. Many also face issues of discrimination and inequality.
The concerns that drove Baroness Masham to establish SIA still continue to underpin the development and delivery of the charity’s services which include clinical advice, a freephone support line, peer-led counselling, advocacy, community-based peer support, campaigning, education for health professionals and support for families and carers.
SIA provides life-long support to spinal cord injured people, both directly and by linking them to the services they need through our expanding network of partners.
“It seems hardly possible that from such small beginnings we have grown to be the enthusiastic professional organisation that we are today.” – Baroness Masham of Ilton.
SIA’s belief is that everyone has a right to live a fulfilled life and that means the life they choose, a life that has the same opportunities as everyone else’s.
The charity’s membership of 13,000 includes over 9,000 people with lived experience of spinal cord injury. In addition, more than half of SIA’s staff and the majority of Trustees are spinal cord injured.