Throughout this year’s Action for Brain Injury Week (ABI Week), Headway groups and branches have been busy hosting events to help raise awareness of brain injury.
From practical workshops to creative expressions, Headway's Brain Drain: Wake up to fatigue! campaign has been at the heart of ABI Week events across the UK.
Throughout the week, Headway Southampton ran a number of Brain Drain workshops where brain injury survivors were able to discuss how fatigue affects them, and what practical solutions can be put in place to help.
Andrew Kirkpatrick, Chair of Headway North Cumbria, said:
"The two Brain Drain sessions we ran were dynamic, informative and hopefully all participants gained from taking part."
Over in the West Midlands, Headway Birmingham & Solihull invited a team from Occupational Health, Safety and Return to Work Services to its centre to deliver a session on fatigue.
A hugely-successful lobbying day took place in Westminster, giving brain injury survivors and the organisations supporting them a chance to meet MPs and encourage them to support calls for improved services to be provided throughout the care pathway.
Many Headway groups and branches, along with Headway UK, were represented at the event, which was organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Acquired Brain Injury, with those present provided with the opportunity to thank the members of the APPG for championing the cause of brain injury in Parliament.
Meanwhile, brain injury survivors in Northern Ireland were invited by the Southern HSCT Brain Injury Forum to attend a workshop and conference which aimed to raise awareness of the challenges faced as a result of an acquired brain injury.
ABI Week is always a good excuse to get creative to either raise awareness or funds – and this year many Headway groups and branches did just that.
Headway West London helped to satisfy a few sweet-toothed visitors to Charing Cross and St Mary's Hospital, as well as raise money, by hosting bake sales throughout the week.
Headway Birmingham & Solihull also got baking, holding fatigue-related cake-making sessions using slow release energy ingredients. Members made battery-like rice crispy cakes which were half dipped in chocolate to symbolise how fatigue makes them feel like a drained battery.
Headway Birmingham & Solihull also hosted a fatigue quiz, where service users tested their knowledge on all things brain injury-related fatigue, and a fatigue healthy eating class.
Another Headway group which tapped into the creative skills of its members was Headway Cardiff & South East Wales. Service users of the group's Independence and Wellbeing Centre created a ‘fatigue board’ where they were able to share their top tips for tackling fatigue, as well as their thoughts and their experiences of brain injury.
Just over the border, Herefordshire Headway headed down to its local Co-op supermarket to display the poetry and prose members had written about fatigue.
Members of Headway Coventry & Warwickshire's support group enjoyed a Mad Hatter’s tea party where they wore wacky hats and costumes and shared tea and cake.
Service user Nat Parr couldn't get enough of the Hats for Headway fun so she decided to take on her own challenge of wearing 40 different hats relating to 40 different activities.
So far she's donned a magician's top hat and has plans to have tea with the Lord Mayor of Coventry and wear his official Mayoral hat. You can find out more about Nat's challenge here.
Also donning their wonderful Wonderland hats were service users at Headway Swindon who enjoyed an array of Alice in Wonderland-themed activities, including designing their own hats, taking part in a special craft session and indulging in sweet treats at a Mad Hatter’s tea party.
But it wasn't just Headway Swindon joining in with Hats for Headway Day fun during ABI Week, with Headway Devon's CEO Ruth Wells and Fundraising Manager Victoria Johnston spending an entire day wearing cycle helmets in order to spark conversations about brain injury prevention.
Also on a mission to raise awareness of the importance of cycle safety was the team at Headway Blackpool, which attended two local schools to talk about the serious consequences of not wearing safety helmets when riding bikes and scooters.
The Headway Darlington group was very busy during ABI Week, featuring on BBC Radio Tees every morning to talk about brain injury and its effects. Seven brain injury survivors bravely shared their stories with listeners across the county.
There were also television news features on BBC East Midlands Today, where Lottie Butler opened up about how fatigue is making it hard for her to complete her college course.
Lottie, whose Brain Drain video diary is available to view on the campaign page of our website, was accompanied by Headway’s Luke Griggs who spoke on the programme about the campaign.
ITV Borders also ran a news feature during the week, with Headway again providing comment to raise awareness of brain injury and highlight how people can get help from their local groups and branches.
This year's ABI Week marked the launch of Headway East London's podcast: The World Beyond My Head. Each episode of the podcast explores topics that have become important to two survivor's following their brain injury.
During Action for Brain Injury Week a total of 55 pieces of coverage were recorded. This included seven pieces of national online coverage, two regional television pieces, eight regional radio pieces and 38 articles for online or print newspapers.
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