WHO ARE HEADWAY MILTON KEYNES AND WHAT DO THEY DO?
Brain injury is the largest cause of acquired disability in the working age population. It’s most commonly caused by road traffic accidents, assaults, falls and strokes, and can challenge every aspect of your life – walking, talking, thinking and feeling. These losses can be severe, permanent and life changing for the individual and those close to them. They often mean losing both the life you once lived and the person you once were.
Headway Milton Keynes aims to improve the lives of people who acquired a brain injury, by providing excellent services that promote independence and well-being and enabling clients to establish and achieve their personal aims and objectives.
Headway Milton Keynes provide a holistic, client-centred approach to brain injury survivors through cognitive, physical, social and emotional re-learning and rehabilitation services. These increase confidence and encourage socialisation and inclusion within the local community, preventing isolation.
WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM?
Social distancing constraints of the pandemic led to the complete closure of the centre. The Headway Milton
Keynes team were very aware that the impact on their clients and the wider brain injury community could well be
devastating, with vulnerable adults left without the support, at risk of social isolation and with deteriorating
At this time there were real concerns about the practicalities of isolated living, the need for advice, support and
signposting where necessary. Feedback from service users was that their biggest concern was social isolation, lack
of support when alone and increased anxiety.
WHAT DIFFERENCE DID THE APPEAL AWARD MAKE?
As a direct result of the appeal funding, Headway Milton Keynes have been able to establish a Befriending Service
- regular informal calls to socialise, provide a listening ear, share news and common interests. Calls are primarily
made by volunteers, with a member of staff coordinating the rota and reviewing with clients and volunteers.
Funding has also meant that the charity can offer 1-1 support via phone, in order to identify concerns, provide
advice and support with any challenges - like food shopping – signposting to other organisations where
Headway also now offer information and advice on a range of activities of daily living, from scheduling activities,
staying active, cooking, coping with housework and relaxation to brain injury specific support such as
communication, memory, fatigue and problem solving. These are run by their brain injury coordinator and
“I receive befriending calls twice a week which provide good interaction. We talk about what I have been up to, things I am working on and general chat, often about current affairs. Being able to speak to someone of a different age, gender and culture is nice because it provides a different viewpoint and allows me to open to other people’s perspectives and talk about different topics. Speaking to someone younger who attends university takes me back to my own past and back into that position again and makes me reflect on what I did and how I could have done better.
I am currently working on writing an autobiography and Lockdown is allowing me time to work on it. The volunteer kindly agreed to look over and help with it. We are able to discuss this which is great and will help me achieve this goal. This gives me a project to motivate me during Lockdown. It is all I have; it fills a vacuum left by lockdown and it is making the best of the situation. The activities we do engage the brain. It prevents boredom and maintains interaction.”