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 many of 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Music Sessions
Our fantastic music room is equipped with several acoustic and electric instruments (including guitars and keyboards), Marshall amplifiers, and a range of interesting, quality percussion instruments from around the world.
With volunteer support offering over 50 years’ guitar-playing experience, clients are welcome to play, sing along and ‘have a go’, regardless of experience or ability. Our diverse array of music and lyric books support clients of all abilities and musical genre tastes.
Some of our clients even played live at a fundraiser concert back in October of 2018.
Art, Craft and Design
We offer stimulating and diverse craft and design sessions. Activities have included not only sketching and painting, but also with wax, gems, foiling, clay-work 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.
We are very well-resourced with high quality art and craft materials and tools, and encourage our clients to express their creative sides. All sorts of things are designed and produced, including photographic collages, greeting cards and seasonal decorations. Our clients also design our annual Christmas cards.
Our quiet, spacious art room enables clients to develop their creativity and produce some terrific pieces of artwork, with many pieces on display in our centre.
We are proud to offer weekly woodwork sessions in our specially-designed workshop, well-stocked with quality, professional tools and materials. With support from experienced volunteers, clients can enjoy creative, purposeful woodwork tasks within a safe and supportive environment. Our woodwork volunteers, Les and Dave, are highly skilled, with many years’ experience of woodwork, engineering and upholstery between them. Working together, clients have been able to pick up solid 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 cookery sessions are very popular among our clients. In our spacious and well-equipped kitchen, clients can plan, prepare and cook any dishes of interest - these range from cakes and biscuits through to a full hot meal such as shepherd's pie or sausage casserole. With support from staff and volunteers, our cookery sessions can help our clients boost their planning and organisation skills, , enrich teamwork, and develop a sense of greater independence in the kitchen by taking on board new domestic skills (or re-learning lost ones).
During our cookery sessions, lunches are handmade from scratch and enjoyed by both staff and clients - we find this really enhances the 'family feel' we have here at HEN. A handmade, hand-decorated birthday cake is always made too whenever there is a birthday in the building.
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.
I.T and Technology
Our I.T suite is equipped with professional-quality resources, and offers our clients the opportunity to spend some time refreshing their I.T skills, and learning new ones. If required, support is right there from our staff team and our experienced I.T volunteer.
The room boasts two desktop PC’s with Microsoft Office, a full colour printer, iPads and 'Alexa'. This variety of technology helps all clients gain equal access to the world online, regardless of manual dexterity, coordination or I.T skills.
I.T sessions are very much client-driven. Activities have included planning and creating lists, completing charts or diaries, or online research into subjects of interest.
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’).
All clients enjoy our spacious games room. It's a comfortable, light space in which to relax and socialise.
The room boasts some great facilities, including a full-size pool table, Subbuteo, construction modelling area, DVD player and TV 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 private space 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.
Peer Support Group
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.
In usual times, these sessions run at our centre each Thursday and every other Monday, however at the moment due to the pandemic, they're operating very successfully via 'Zoom'.
The Peer Support Group is led by our volunteer, Wilson, and Tim, who is not only a fellow volunteer but a client too, able to give his first hand perspective of the lived experience of ABI.
For more details about our Peer Support Group, please do get in touch.