Supporting, developing and enriching lives of Adults with Acquired Brain injury
Supporting, Developing and Enriching Lives of Adults with Acquired Brain Injury
Headway East Northants is a charitable organisation based in Irthlingborough, East Northamptonshire. We provide support and services to survivors of brain injury, and also their family members and carers.
Our service reflects our clients - we are a person-centred and understands the complexities of ‘the hidden disability’ and the problems that may arise with cognition, memory, communication and concentration. Each client is individually assessed so that we can develop an individual learning plan to enhance and enrich a client’s life to be the very best it can be.
Our centre is open from Monday to Friday, 10am – 4.00pm, for 50 weeks of the year. We provide a wealth of stimulating, varied, purposeful and engaging activities to enjoy, all within a friendly, positive and safe environment.
Headway East Northants is affiliated to Headway UK, the Brain Injury Association, who are the national charity working to improve life after brain injury.
What we are all About
We believe that variety, safety and inclusion are all vital factors to those with an acquired brain injury.Our clients’ families and carers can be assured that our Centre provides a welcoming, comfortable and non-judgmental environment for their loved ones during their time here.
Many visitors, and clients themselves, talk of how our centre has a “real family atmosphere” – something of which we are very proud.
Our centre is ‘client-led’, and our activities and facilities are inspired by our clients’ preferences and suggestions. We aim to cater for all tastes, interests and abilities, and will always focus on what CAN be done, rather than what can’t.
We host some terrific social events throughout the year; for example, summer barbecues, coffee mornings at Easter and Christmas, a Christmas lunch for everyone as well as other ad-hoc events. All of these combine to support socialisation, integration into the wider community, and enhance personal wellbeing.
Please do take a look at the various facility room details. We hope they offer you a bit of an insight as to the variety of fantastic activities and services we can provide to our clients here at Headway East Northants.
If you’d like to come and see these rooms and facilities for yourself ‘in the flesh’, please don’t hesitate to ask – we’d be delighted to show you around. Simply give us a call on 01933 652311, or email us at email@example.com.
Our Music Room and Ukulele Group
Our fantastic music room is equipped with several acoustic and electric instruments (including guitars and keyboards), Marshall amplifiers, and a varied range of good-quality percussion instruments.
We have recently had our guitars re-strung and re-conditioned, complete with brand new leads, so they’re all ready to rock!
With volunteer support offering over 50 years’ guitar-playing experience, clients are warmly welcomed to play, sing along and ‘have a go’, regardless of experience or ability. It doesn’t matter whether a client has experience or has never been near an instrument – everyone’s welcome to give it a try. Our diverse array of music and lyric books support clients of all abilities, with jam sessions being frequently enjoyed!
Facilitator Freyja (herself a member of the Raund Ukulele Orchestra) offers a friendly and fun Ukulele Group each Tuesday morning here at the centre. All clients are warmly welcomed and a diverse, varied range of songs are learnt and played. Our players even played live at a fundraiser concert back in October of 2018.
Art, Craft and Design
We offer diverse and rewarding craft and design sessions, not only with sketching and painting, but also with wax, gems, foiling and pyrography (which is the art of decorating wood, leather and other materials with a pen-shaped, burning tool – pictures of this are shown below). These activities allow the expression of creativity, alongside forward planning, concentration and hand-eye coordination, all of which are skills we work together to support and develop.
These sessions are also particularly popular for those of a quieter nature, and for those who find socialising and group-based activities challenging or overwhelming.
We are very well-resourced with high quality art and craft materials and tools, so our clients are welcome to get as creative as they wish. All sorts of things are created, from greetings cards, portraits, mandalas, collages, seasonal decorations and even designs for ‘Good Luck’ cards sent to our London Marathon runners. Our clients also design our annual Christmas cards. We’ve also benefitted from a very generous donation of air-dry clay from our friends at Rushden Lakes Hobbycraft – 12kg to be precise!
Our bright and spacious art room offers any of our clients, with support from volunteers/staff, the freedom to express themselves and create some fabulous pieces of artwork, which are often displayed around the Headway building. The mural shown in the photograph above was designed and created by our clients!
We are delighted to offer weekly woodwork sessions in our specially-designed workshop. Alongisde experienced volunteers, clients can enjoy creative, purposeful woodwork tasks within a safe and supportive environment.
Our well-equipped workshop provides offers high-quality, professional materials and tools.
Our woodwork volunteers, Les and Dave, are highly skilled, with many years’ experience of woodwork, engineering and upholstery. Working together, clients have been able to pick up sound woodwork and upholstery skills and put them into practice.
Particular highlights have been some beautiful bird boxes for our garden (some of which are now inhabited), clocks, wine holders (pictured above), toys, Christmas decorations and even a fully upholstered foot stool!
Kitchen and Cookery
Our bright, spacious and superbly-equipped kitchen offers clients the opportunity to plan, prepare and cook whatever they would like to have a go at, from simple cakes and cookies through to a full hot meal like shepherd’s pie or sausage casserole. Clients are often inspired with new ideas and suggestions to try, thanks to our terrific volunteers, and our excellent range of recipe books.
Clients and volunteers also work together each time we have a client birthday here at the centre, to plan, bake and decorate a celebratory cake entirely from scratch.
Lunches are often handmade from scratch during our cookery sessions. They are enjoyed by both staff and clients, which we find really enhances the ‘family feel’ we have here.
Cookery is very popular, and encourages clients of all abilities to work together, developing teamwork, forward planning and coordiation. Domestic skills can be re-learnt, and new ones taken on board to help build a pathway to a life of greater independence.
There’s even the opportunity to have a go at simple online Food Safety courses (which can be done in our I.T suite). Indeed, one of our clients successfully completed and passed this course in the summer of 2018.
Staff and volunteers are always on hand to support clients in our kitchen, and of course to ensure that all food hygiene, health and safety regulations are followed.
IT and Learning
Our I.T suite is equipped with professional-quality resources, and offers our clients the opportunity, with support if required, to spend some time refreshing their I.T skills, and learning new ones.
The room boasts comfortable seating and plenty of light, alongside desk-based PC’s with Microsoft Office and iPads. We have also welcomed ‘Alexa’ to the building too (to great amusement on occasion!), giving all of our clients equal access to the online world, regardless of manual dexterity or coordination.
I.T sessions are very much client-driven. Activities may range from planning, creating and ordering lists, charts or diaries, through to printing pictures for collages or scrap books. Sessions also give clients the opportunity to brush up on typing or software skills, or simply embark on some online research on a subject which sparks interest. Our I.T volunteer, Alan, has a wealth of experience to offer and is very supportive to our client base.
We are also very proud to support our clients with participating in externally-recognised, online courses should these be of interest. One particular client combined his IT skills alongside his love of cookery, and finished and passed an online food safety course (check out Mike’s story on ‘Client Achievements’).
There is also a colour printer, large whiteboard, and headphones, if required.
Our popular games room is enjoyed by all clients who come along to Headway East Northants. This room is spacious, bright and beautifully decorated, providing a comfortable space in which to relax and socialise. The room boasts some great leisure facilities, including a full-size pool table, Subbuteo set (pictured above), construction modelling area, DVD player and karaoke machine to name just a few.
We have recently expanded our construction modelling area with some brand new, challenging sets of both Lego and Meccano – terrific for strategy, concentration and development of hand-eye coordination.
There’s even a Wii console with games and quizzes to encourage everyone with a bit of competitive spirit!
Our garden had a glorious makeover in the summer of 2018 and is now a real gem! This beautiful open space offers a great combination of both sun traps and shade so clients can be guaranteed comfort, whatever their preference.
The area offers comfortable, supportive seating (including a brand new bench and 6-seater patio set with parasol), beautiful plant holders (handmade by our clients in our wood workshop) and bird boxes (many of which are inhabited, and again, handmade by our clients).
There are also attractive plants and flowers, herbs for our kitchen and seasonal vegetables, all of which are cared for by our amazing clients. In the summer, we enjoy ‘al fresco’ coffees and lunches together.
We’re very proud of our garden and the enjoyment it very clearly generates, whether that may be from practical gardening tasks or simply relaxing with a cup of tea.
We are proud to offer a Peer Support Group here at Headway East Northants.
This fully confidential support group offers brain injury survivors the opportunity to come together in a relaxed, safe and non-judgmental environment, and discuss any issues or anxieties relating to difficulties with mood, relationships, loss of skills, finances, or indeed anything else that may be affecting day to day life.
These sessions run at our centre each Thursday from 10.30am until 12.30pm, and then every other Monday from 10.30am until 1.00pm.
The Peer Support Group is led by our facilitator Freyja, and volunteer, Wilson.To read Wilson’s story, please click here:
For more details about our Peer Support Group, please do get in touch.