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Innovation Award final...

Innovation Award finalist 2023 - Headway Worcester Main Image

Innovation Award finalist 2023 - Headway Worcester

Thu 09 Nov 2023

ABI Games

A unique national sporting event for the ABI community

When Headway Worcestershire was made aware of the exciting funding opportunity put forward by the Lottery Community Fund to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee, the team researched and thought about our funding application.

They soon discovered that individuals who have suffered an ABI were not allowed to enter the Paralympics or the Olympics. There was no sporting, or skills platform in the world for adults with an acquired brain injury to showcase their abilities - rather than their disabilities.

First and foremost, they wanted to find a fun way in which we were able to acknowledge the incredible skills and talents of Headway’s existing ABI community nationally, ensuring an inclusive event that encompasses a wide variety of skills to ensure each and every one would be able to enter at least one of the 24 events. They looked at Headway’s client sector focussing on Physical Games, Cognitive Skills, Creative Expression and Life Skills.

This led to the creation of the ABI Games.

We opened the event with an opening ceremony a talk from myself as CEO and our Patron, an operatic singer, with a song that captured the event. The National Anthem was also sung by all.

With the development of the 2022 ABI Games, we wanted to ensure there was an activity for all capabilities and confidences across our ABI community, so we offered 24 options across the two days. This worked beautifully. We encouraged everyone to register before the event, however we also left registration open all day on both days, so as not to exclude anyone from taking part.

There was a weekend full of fun, achievements, and tears of joy from participants, families and carers, as individuals excelled and remembered lost skills and talents.

Medals, a baseball cap and goody bags were issued to everyone at the end of each day during an award ceremony. We had 90 individuals taking part with some remote submissions for the Creative Expressions category if people couldn’t come to the event.

The event has shown us that accessing a community of ABI survivors is a challenge as often they do not have access to or use social media platforms. This year we have attended and had a stand at care shows to advertise the event to care providers in the field of brain injury.

We are planning a 2025 ABI Games, aiming to secure funding over the next two years to secure its future and continued growth. The unique opportunity for an underrepresented community cannot be lost.”

(Mandie Fitzgerald, Director Headway Worcestershire)

“Thank you so much for staging the very first ABI Games. It was a most Joyful and inclusive event and allowed those of us with an ABI to meaningfully participate and demonstrate our skills and who we really are - something that can be lost to ourselves and others.”
“It was an amazing weekend! I tried new things, talked to so many wonderful people, shared stories and made my parents proud. My Dada was over the moon to see me win medals!”
“So much fun, and lots of laughs too, I used to play a lot of golf so hitting the cricket ball was a natural movement for me, and now I want to try walking cricket.”

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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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