Rose-thorned and grubby kneed.


"Almost exactly two years ago I was in an accident. I was on my bike and the driver crossed in front of me. I suffered contusions and haemorrhaging in my brain and broken vertebrae. After the first period of recovery was over I found that I needed to be around other people who had sustained a brain injury.

I heard about the Gardening Project at Headway Cambridgeshire and came for an interview and was accepted on the course. I find introductions to new people quite difficult. I either fixate on one person and talk too much or shut down completely. I would also sometimes find myself getting defensive. It took a few weeks to remember everyone’s name but I found that the course was an opportunity for me to be myself amongst people and not have to worry about saying the wrong thing.

My gardening skills were limited when I first started the course but now my view of what a garden is has changed completely. I want as much as possible of what I grow in my own garden to be edible. I just see what works in different places. On the course there was no right or wrong way of doing things but a lot of encouragement to find answers for ourselves.

I have now started volunteering at Wimpole as a gardener and I enjoy my work there. I have also been offering my gardening services to elderly and frail people in my local community. I provide the comedy of getting soaked, muddy, rose-thorned and grubby kneed but they tell me what they want done. It’s their garden, after all. I like the idea of making a difference to the area I live in and it’s a way of gauging what I can cope with. Sometimes my frontal lobes don’t work and I don’t recognise that I am getting tired. I can still do parts of my old job as a design engineer, but the whole rounded person I need to be isn’t quite there yet. There is still a lot of learning to do.

If you compare how I am now to how I was before the Headway course the difference is astounding. Before I did it I was finding it hard to contain my emotions and express myself properly. I was liable to blow a fuse if things got too much for me.  After doing the Garden Project I now have much more confidence to approach people and talk to them. I am no longer so anxious about making a mistake or blundering in."

Adam Bailey

As a brain injured person it can sometimes be hard to feel positive about your progress but the gym instructor at Headway Cambridgeshire pushes me in the right direction and helps me to feel more enthusiastic about what I am able to achieve and what I might achieve in the future.