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Summer 2018

Headway Essex

Essex Classic Vehicle Show Sunday 16th September Castle Park, Colchester Now in it’s third year, this years’ event is set to be even bigger and better! Organised by the Headway Essex Fundraising Team and the Charity Classic Vehicle Club, all proceeds raised will go to Headway Essex. Expect to see 200 classic vehicles from across the globe exhibit on the beautiful grounds of Castle Park, where we will also be interviewing their owners in the arena. There are trophies to be won, sponsored by RH Specialist Insurance, best Pre-War, Post War, Post 1960, Best American, Best period Dressed and Car of the Show. With the schedule of enterainment suitable for all the family it’s a great day out. We have confirmed CL cheerleaders, Team Kinetix - freerunners, Kingsland Community Choir and another act to be announced. We have a catering quarter serving a variety of cuisines and sweet treats in addition to a number of art and craft stall holders and autojumble, as well as childrens fun rides.

Kindly sponsored by

We are still accepting vehicle applications - you can download a form on the event page If you intend on coming don’t forgot to mark yourself as attending on the Facebook page to be kept up to date with the latest news!

Interview with… Angie O’Toole, Community Support Service Manager Could you tell us about your role? I am the Community Support Manager here at Headway Essex, which means I manage the charity’s community support function; a team of two community support workers and an office based first line support worker. How would you describe community support? Community support reaches out to those people in the community living with an acquired brain injury who ordinarily might not be aware such support exists. As a team, we empower those living with the effects of brain injury to become more independent. What is a typical month like in community support? At any given time, we’ll be supporting around 300 active clients; those who attend groups, people requiring one-to-one support and those who need us to reach out to them regularly. It’s always busy in community support. In the past four weeks alone, we’ve held 41 individual appointments, attended outreach sessions with various hospitals, held 8 support groups, and taken hundreds of calls. We’ve also squeezed in a car boot to raise crucial funds! What do you think are the common misconceptions about acquired brain injury? People can confuse acquired brain injury with learning disability. It’s almost as if the ‘acquired’ element is not recognised. The other frustrating comment our clients hear often by people meaning well, is “you look great, you must be back to normal now”, or words to that affect. This can be really frustrating, just because somebody looks well on the outside certainly doesn’t mean they are ok. How does the community support team help clients overcome hurdles? The biggest hurdle for clients, apart from the physical side, is gaining acceptance of the new them, which can take a long time for some people to reach. But, we can be there every step of the way. We take a very practical approach and focus on the realistic progression someone can make. The support groups we run are brilliant. They connect likeminded people who are in similar situations to themselves and offer much needed peer support. For carers, the challenges are very different. They quite often feel exhausted by the emotional strain of caring for somebody and may struggle with coming to terms with how a brain injury has changed a loved one. This is why we have carer only support groups in addition to our regular support groups; it’s a place where they can share their thoughts in a safe and non-judgemental environment. What are the rewards of working in community support? There are so many rewards. I can think of a really nice example recently, where as a team, we’ve been helping a client whose wellbeing is being negatively affected simply because they are unable to safely leave the confines of their home. Our client is reliant on a wheelchair for mobility purposes, however they are unable to access the outside of their property due to being unable to open or close the external doors. CSS contacted Remap who are able to custom-make equipment to help disabled people live more independently, they are now going to make a device that will allow the client to access the rear door. CSS also contacted the Council regarding a disabilities grant which has now been authorised and work can now begin on replacing the front door for an electronic one, once this work is completed this will quite literally be life-changing for our client, and that makes us really proud.

The sixth annual Headway Essex Colour5K got underway on Saturday 30 June at The Boot Group’s Ardleigh Showground and raised over £10,500 for Headway Essex, the total of which is set to increase as we collect and count all the sponsorship raised over the next few days. Around 500 participants, from ardent runners to families and friends looking for a fun day out, got into the spirit of the event, passing through five colour zones at the end of each 1km lap, where ‘colour bandits’ dowsed them from head-to-toe in powdered paint. In total, 36 teams ran the Colour5K, including a team of 20 employees from the main event sponsor, Kent Blaxill & Co Ltd, aptly named Team KB! Managing Director, Simon Blaxill, said: “It was absolutely sweltering out there, but everyone pushed through and ran the Headway Colour5K. As a family-owned business ourselves we were thrilled to see the local community get together for a celebration of colour on behalf of Headway Essex. And of course, the theme fits perfectly with the wide range of paints we stock.” All runners were rewarded with a colourful medal at the end of the race, kindly sponsored by Dulux Trade which is a large supplier to Kent Blaxill & Co Ltd. The fun was not over when the race finished as the finale of the day was a colour extravaganza which gave everyone involved the chance to throw colour at friends, family and anyone who wanted to join in the fun! A good time was had by all and it was inspiring to see so many families, friends and co-workers having such an amazing time together. We cannot thank everyone enough for their support. We’re over the moon as £10,500 is the largest amount we’ve ever raised at the Colour5K, which will go directly towards providing rehabilitation and support for brain injury survivors and their families and carers across Essex. Headway Essex would like to thank Boot Group for once again donating Ardleigh Showground for the event as well as Kent Blaxill and all of the volunteers who helped on the day and everyone who took part in the event.

Brain Training Sudoku

Riddle: I’m where yesterday follows today and tomorrow is in the middle. What am I?

Answers on back page

Word Steps Only changing one letter at a time, you must find three wordsthat take you from ‘HAND’ to ‘FEET’. HAND ------------------------------------FEET

Learning to live without limits Stuart had never flown in a plane, been up a mountain, or gone whale watching until after he acquired a brain injury. 18 months ago, he was embracing life despite the challenges having muscular dystrophy brings. He was unaware of what was about to happen. In March 2017, Stuart had a stroke. His life was redefined overnight. He spent two long months being cared for at Colchester General Hospital.“I was far from great whilst in hospital” he describes. “There was so much information to take in and things to consider. I could never have imagined that I would be jet-setting to Tenerife on my own just over a year later.” It was at hospital that Stuart met Amanda from Headway Essex’s community support team. “Amanda and the team have given me so much support. I attend a monthly brain injury support group and have completed the Headway Essex ABIEV education programme, which has given me insight into my injury.” Most important of all, Headway Essex has supported Stuart with the emotional challenges he has faced. Building confidence through one-to-one support and advice and peer encouragement has seen Stuart take on personal (and physical) challenges he wouldn’t have done before having a stroke. After his stroke, he wanted to do something he had never done before; go on holiday abroad. After some research, Stuart’s carer discovered a company called Limitless Travel. Founded by Angus Drummond, who also has muscular dystrophy, the travel company is built around the idea that everyone should be able to pursue their aspirations through travel, regardless of their disability; whether that’s a trip to Blackpool and the Lake District or to the other side of the world. Encouraged by what he read, Stuart booked a trip with Limitless Travel to Tenerife in May 2018. At first, Stuart was really excited, but he admits that “as I got closer to going, I started to get really anxious about everything. I had never been on a plane before and so I was not only concerned about flying but about the practicalities surrounding my mobility. My NHS wheelchair, for instance, would have to be taken apart for transportation! Then there were the concerns I had around being so far away from my family and carers. What if something went wrong?” Headway Essex was there for Stuart during the weeks leading up to his trip. “Amanda helped me break down each concern and made me realise just how much I needed this trip; for me, and most importantly, for my rehabilitation.” Nothing at all went wrong for Stuart whilst he stayed at the fully accessible Mar y Sol Hotel in Los Cristianos. Quite the opposite. “Los Cristianos surprised me with how accessible it is. Everywhere there is a step there is a ramp and there was even a mobility shop right next to our hotel where I could book almost any trip I liked. My disability was not an issue. It was like heaven.”

With the support of Limitless Travel’s carers, Stuart reached the 2.4km point on Mount Teide, the second largest volcano in the world. He took a dip in the sea with the use of a specifically adapted pathway and ramp, went whale watching, went swimming in a pool for the first time in 30 years, visited Loro Parque animal park and even sang karaoke for the first time ever! In his own words, Stuart describes “I felt free, like I was in another world. I was doing exactly what others do on holiday, with no limits. Having a brain injury or a disability should not stop you doing the things you want to do.” With this in mind, Stuart has now booked a trip to Blackpool and the Lake District in October with the same company. He’s looking forward to visiting the scenic Coniston Water, Lake Windermere and Ambleside

South East Carers Support Group on tour! AKA a picnic at South Hanningfield Reservoir Didn’t we have a lovely time the day we went to East Hanningfield-yes we did! We laughed and we laughedfrom the moment we all met at one meeting place, got out of our cars only to be greeted by a few ducks and geese. Christine could be heard to say “oh I’m not a lover of larger birds” supported by a “me neither” from another member of the group. As we turned the corner there were a few more. Well actually at least 80 plus geese, ducks and other feathered varieties licking their lips, or should I say bills; all in anticipation of what we had bought them for lunch! Being the sensitive and closely bonded group that we are we showed immense support to those a little unhinged by this amount of birds by first laughing our socks off…….and then by making a quick getaway. So we hastily got back in the cars and drove to another beautiful part of the nature reserve where we found a lovely scenic and quiet picnic spot; we got all the food out sat down and were immediately joined by about 50 primary schoolchildren out on a school trip with their teachers and their packed lunches! But…we all agreed how very well behaved they were compared to us at their age. So the school stories and reminiscing flowed and we had a fantastic afternoon, fantastic food, fantastic home made cake (always a must), fantastic company….basically fantastic! And great stories, laughs and a real chill out factor… thank you so much Benfleet Carers Support Group as I for one totally enjoyed seeing all the group having such a relaxing and enjoyable time! Kevin Maloney, Community Support Worker If you are a carer or supporting someone with a brain injury, live in south-east or south-west Essex and would like come along to the group meetings please contact the Community Support Team for details on 01206 768797 email

South Essex Carers Support Group The South Essex Carers Support Group meets on the 4th Thursday of every month from 7pm-9pm at the Benfleet Methodist Church, High Road, Benfleet. There are at present 6-10 of us who meet for a cup of tea, coffee and cake. Kevin Maloney, Community Support Worker facilitates the group and we sometimes have a guest speaker but for us we like to be able to chat about our situation in a supportive environment. There’s sometimes tears but always humour. There’s a listening ear where you can get things off your chest, friendship, peer support and advice. Although every brain injury is different the effects are similar no matter how the injury was caused. It’s an enjoyable evening where we can feel normal again, a break from routine. We feel we are not alone; there are others who have been there. It’s a place where you can say what you think without being judged as we all have a common link. A couple of our members who attend have sadly lost their husband but still come as they remember the support they received, it’s also a social gathering for them all and it’s nice to see how they are coping without their loved ones; and we are all there for each other. We would like to thank Kevin for listening to our moans and groans every month and I think everyone will agree we don’t know where we would be without HEADWAY ESSEX. Christine Martin, Carer

Hats for Headway Thank you to all those who participated in Hats for Headway during national ABI week and kindly donated to Headway Essex. Special thanks to the following groups;

Colchester Rotary Cub £133.60

Hill & Abbott Solictiors £97.00

The Orpheus Singers, £160.00

Super star fundrasier Gatesy (Michael Gates) is no stranger to the Fundraising Team, having organised a number of events in 2017 and regularly volunteers in the office and at events. Gatesy had a busy month with two events, two weeks apart. Up first on 18 May was his annual Headway Open, a charity golf day in the form of a 5-man Texas Scramble, held at Frinton Golf Club. The event raised an impressive £2,486.12. Shortly followed was the charity head shave on 3 June, again held at Frinton Golf Club. Gatesy with his side-kick and fellow fundraiser Rob committed to having their hair shaved off in front of a packed golf club over Sunday lunch. The spectacle has raised an amazing £3,480.66 so far. Both events have raised a combined total of £5,966.78! We would like to say a HUGE thank you to Gatesy and Rob for their on-going committment and support for Headway Essex. If you would like to fundraise for Headway Essex, get in touch with the Fundraising Team, just email or telephone 01206 547 616.

New Group for Young adults with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) We have recently been awarded funding from the iBCF Transformation Fund to pilot a new group for young adults with acquired brain injury living in North East Essex. It is a really exciting opportunity to develop something aimed specifically at the 18 to 30 age group and we have been working with some of our younger clients to scope out what the group would look like. The purpose of the group is to support young adults to identify and achieve self-identified goals with support of their peer group covering areas such as; brain injury awareness, psychological adjustment, cognitive rehabilitation, independence, fitness, socialising and pursuing work, volunteering or college opportunities. The groups’ activities will be designed with input from young adults alongside Headway Essex staff, psychotherapists, fitness trainers and occupation therapists all experienced in supporting adults with ABI. The new group will provide appropriate activities to engage young adults and use appropriate community facilities to run the sessions from that will appeal to young adults. We are just in the final stages of designing what the pilot will look like and we hope that we will be in a position to launch the new group in October 2018. If you would like to know more about the new group please contact

Bootsale raises vital funds The Community Support Team along with their volunteers (pictured opposite) were at Marks Tey Bootsale during ABI awareness week and Carers week. The combined total raised was an impressive £516.13. Thank you to all those who kindly donated items and to the volunteers who helped on the day. The last car boot sale for this year will be on 22 August at Marks Tey.

Birthday Fundraiser Theresa Robinson celebrated her 40th birthday in April. Having acquired a brain injury and in a coma in 2001, this was a big milestone and to mark the occasion she did a selfless act and suggested that her friends and family donate to Headway Essex in lieu of birthday gifts. Theresa set-up a Virgin Money Giving page with a target of £350, with the kind donations received on the night of her party and the online fundraising, she raised a whopping £844.00 (inc. Gift Aid). Headway Essex would like to thank Theresa for her kind gesture and to all her kind friends who generously donated. Here is Theresa’s story written in her own words. I suffered a brain injury in 2001 and after extensive tests I was later diagnosed with encephalitis (which is a virus that attacks the brain) in 2002. I was in a coma for three months and was given very little chance of recovery as the amount of damage at that time was unknown and what kind of state I would be left in. I took a turn for the worst as my temperature rocketed and the virus reached the stem of my brain. However overnight my temperature lowered and I was later brought out of my coma. Great you may think but my life had completely changed. My memory taken, I couldn’t communicate, walk or complete basic everyday tasks. This was going to be the hardest, toughest challenge of my life and it still remains a challenge everyday. The hospital helped save my life but Headway Essex helped me get my life back. I had to relearn everything from walking, talking, dressing, making a cup of tea and the most basic using a toilet! With the help of extensive rehab to relearn these skills part of me was coming back. I attended the day centre at first with Headway Essex where I gained confidence in meeting and talking to people, it was nice to share experiences and not feel alone. I had a support worker who was there from the start offering support to my parents. Without their support my parents wouldn’t have known how to deal with me and my changing and challenging behaviour. Most importantly my parents have given me the strength and support to regain my independence and I will never forget the sacrifices they have made for me. To this day I continue to have Headway’s support and I cannot thank them enough. This is my way of giving just a little back by suggesting donations to this great charity instead of gifts for my birthday as without them I wouldn’t be here celebrating my 40th.

Colchester Half Partnership We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Headway Essex has been chosen as one of the benefitting charities for next year’s Griffin Chapman Colchester Half Marathon on 24th March 2019, which is now open for entries. Returning for its ninth year, it has firmly established itself as one of the biggest and best races in the region. Organised by a group of dedicated volunteers from Colchester Colne Round Table, alongside many individuals from in and around Colchester, it really is a fantastic community effort with people working tirelessly throughout the year to ensure a great race day experience. This year, over 3,000 dedicated runners participated, and it’s expected to be an equally popular event again next year. All funds raised will be split between Headway Essex (25%) and MS-UK (75%) and we cannot wait to play a pivotal role in helping with the race. The funds generated and kindly given to Headway Essex will directly help people living with the effects of acquired brain injury to live a fulfilling life and help their family members and carers to cope within their caring roles. Almost a stone’s throw away from The Headway Centre, the start and finish line is at Weston Homes Community Stadium. If you’re interested in joining what is a fabulous community of fundraisers and fancy the challenge, the cost of entry is £27.50 for members of UK Athletics Affiliated Running Club and £29.50 for others. You can find out more and register by visiting If you would like to volunteer and help Headway Essex fufill their event duties, then get in touch Tasks may include; marshalling, manning the water stations, fulfilling runner packs and registration.

What would we do without you? A Big thank you to all the staff at The Big Yellow, Storage Company, Mile End, Colchester, without your help we wouldn’t be able to move for fundraising equipment in our office!

T hank You! Thank you to everyone who raises vital funds for Headway Essex, whether by having a collection tin, organising an event, taking part in a sponsored event, making a personal donation or making a donation in memory of a loved one. Your support makes a huge difference to the lives of those living with the effects of an acquired brain injury.

Thank you to Lauren Baker who organised a charitable football tournament and raised an impressive £250. Here is a photo of Lauren presenting the cheque to some of the clients at the Centre.

Thank you to Mr & Mrs Barratt who arranged the Annual Bill Barratt Memorial Golf Day and raised £400. Thank you to the Rotary Club of Burnhamon-Crouch and the Dengie Hundred for the generous donation of £750. Thank you to Sally & John Wilson who’s curry night raised £230. Thank you to Linda Runciman who held a table top sale at her local church and raised £45. Thank you to to the Rotary Club of Clactonon-Sea who kindly donated £250 following a talk given by our Trustee Tony Emms.

Donations in memory We thank the families and friends of: Pauline Eaton Jean Earley

 Help us to make a difference to our community – Support our good cause

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for the kind donations made in his memory. Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time. and search for: Headway Essex Supporters must be 16 years of age or older.

Support Group Meetings

Carers Support Group Meetings

Life After Brain Injury Social Group

North East Essex At: Acorn Hall, The Oaktree Centre, 252 Harwich Road, Colchester, CO4 3DH from 10.00am to 12.00pm No meeting in August Tuesday 4 September Tuesday 2 October Tuesday 6 November

North East Essex At:Red Lion Hotel, High Street, Colchester, CO1 1DJ from 10.30am to 12.30pm No meeting in August Friday 28 September Friday 26 October Friday 23 November

We now hold a regular follow up social group in Benfleet for Headway clients who have previously attended the Life After Brain Injury Group (LABIG) and the new Acquired Brain Injury Education and Vocation (ABIEV) programme.

South Essex At: St John Ambulance South Essex Headquarters, Sandon Road, Pitsea, Essex, SS14 1TH from 7.00pm to 9.00pm No meeting in August Tuesday 11 September Tuesday 9 October Tuesday 13 November Mid Essex At: Hatfield Peverel Village Hall, Maldon Road, Hatfield Peverel, Essex, CM3 2HP From 10.30am to 12.30pm No meeting in August Tuesday 18 September Tuesday 16 October Tuesday 20 November West Essex At: Jack Silly Pavilion, Stonards Hill, Recreation Ground, Epping, CM16 6SP From 10.00am - 12.00pm No meeting in August Tuesday 25 September Tuesday 23 October Tuesday 27 November

South Essex At: Benfleet Methodist Church, High Road, South Benfleet, Essex, SS7 5LH from 7.00pm to 9.00pm No meeting in August Thursday 27 September Thursday 25 October Thursday 22 November West Essex At: TBC Please call the office on 01206 768 797 for details. No meeting in August Tuesday 25 September Tuesday 23 October Tuesday 27 November

There is a charge of £2.50 per person or £5 per family for all of our Support Group meetings. If you would like further information on any of the groups please contact: Community Support Team 01206 768797

If you are interested in attending this group please contact the Community Support Service for more information. 01206 768797

Brain Training Answers Sudoku:

Riddle: Dictionary Word steps: HAND SAND SEND SEED FEED


Do you have experience of working within the benefits system? Headway Essex are looking for volunteers across Essex to assist clients with benefit applications e.g. Employment Support Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Carers Allowance etc. Possibly through to the appeal stages. Training could be provided. For further details or to register your interest please contact the Community Support Team: or 01206 768 797

About Headway Essex Headway Essex cares for people who have acquired a brain injury and this may be through sporting or work accidents, road traffic collisions, stroke, assault, illness or disease. Support is given in two ways. Through the Headway Centre, which is a Day Centre in Colchester where rehabilitation activities take place. These activities are designed to help people to rebuild their lives after brain injury. The centre has 82 places available each week. Headway Essex also has a Community Support Service. The Community Support Team provides telephone support, information on the different aspects of brain injury, support groups, training for carers, specialist literature on brain injury, home and hospital visits and educational talks. Currently over 500 individuals are supported across Essex. Registered Charity Number: 1008807 Patron: David Tennant

Company Limited by Guarantee Registered in England and Wales No. 2674755

Contact Us Community Support Service Phone: 01206 768797 Email: Address: 58b Head St, Colchester, Essex. CO1 1PB Headway Centre Phone: 01206 845945 Email: Registered Address: 2, Boxted Rd, Mile End, Colchester, Essex, CO4 5JD Fundraising Phone: 01206 547616 Email: Address: 58b Head St, Colchester, Essex. CO1 1PB

How you can help.... Donations Make a donation by cheque, cash or through Please make cheques payable to Headway Essex. Charity of the Year Make Headway Essex your charity for the year. You may work for a Company, be a member of a Club or Organisation. Why not put Headway’s name forward. Donations (Corporate) Make a corporate donation, offer a payroll giving scheme within your company, encourage staff to do a fundraising activity or event, or make a donation of goods in kind of your services. Legacies and In Memoriam Remember Headway in your Will or through donations in memory of someone or instead of flowers at a funeral. Collection Boxes Organise the placement of one of the Headway Collection Boxes at your local shop or keep a cardboard collection box in your home to put your spare change in. Standing Orders Why not take out a Standing Order and don’t forget to Gift Aid it! Just contact the Fundraising Team for a form. Attend an event Take part or attend a Headway Essex event. Information about our events and tickets can be found at

Newsletter - Summer 2018 (July)  
Newsletter - Summer 2018 (July)