At Headway Cambridgeshire we offer specialist rehabilitation for people with brain injuries across Cambridgeshire. A vital part of the treatment is Horticultural Therapy which helps to increase psychological, physical and emotional wellbeing for those who have experienced a brain injury.
We are currently recruiting volunteers for the following projects:
The Outdoor Project runs every Tuesday, 10-3, at Wandlebury Ring Country Park near Cambridge.
The project is run by a small team of experienced Headway staff, working in partnership with the wider team at Wandlebury, to give clients a real hands on practical experience of woodworking and forestry.
The project combines green woodworking and bushcraft which enables clients to grow in skills and confidence, as they not only create useful objects from the wood around them but they also work as a team to meet their basic needs - shelter, warmth, tools - from the natural materials in the woodland.
Grow, Share, Eat runs every Thursday,10-1, at Fen End Farm in Cottenham.
The exciting new project is in partnership with Cambridge City Food Bank, with clients and volunteers putting their gardening skills to good use and growing fresh organic produce on a local farm to support individuals and families living in food poverty. They will also be providing information and support to help others grow their own vegetables at home.
If you have an interest in gardening, green woodworking or bushcraft and would like to find out how you can get involved in either of the above projects, please email Simon Lacey at firstname.lastname@example.org
"I attended Simon’s Growing Together course which first gave me exposure to Headway Cambridgeshire and led to me joining the Outdoor Project and Grow, Share, Eat as a volunteer. I like volunteering because I like the fact that I’m helping people and I mean helping in a real practical way. I have friends who volunteer as say trustees or something like that, but I can’t do that, I need to be right where it’s all about and that’s why it’s brilliant here being with the people at Wandlebury and at Fen End Farm. It’s a great way to meet people and it helps me continually develop as well. One thing I remember saying to a friend is that volunteering is improving my own compassion, seeing how the clients cope with the effects of their brain injury.
My role in the group is to work 1:1 with clients and “buddy up” with them on a particular job. I’m not there to do the task for them, I give them minimal guidance and help enable them to do the job. The clients take the lead wherever possible - letting other people take the lead, as opposed to telling them what to do all the time, is a great learning technique for everyone because we all have different ideas and skills. We're all equal in the group, no one is above anyone else. We have a good chat while we work too, the social side is also important for everyone here!"
I used to be a Headway Cambridgeshire client as I was the victim of an accident, and a couple of times it was mentioned that I might find volunteering in the group useful, but I tended to hide myself away at home. Eventually, I realised that maybe I didn’t need direct help from anyone as such, but perhaps I needed to be around other people who I could help. I do a lot of gardening and spoon carving and spend a lot of time by myself but being part of the Outdoor Project is really, really helpful for me.
I came to realise that I can bring an awful lot of practical skills and knowledge to the group with my background in engineering and my interests in gardening and woodwork. I enjoy helping people problem solve a task. Rather than getting them to just mimic me, I think about how I can get them to have an involvement. For example, if someone has neglect and can't see on one side, how do you help them drill holes in the right places or build a framework so it's stable?
Due to the effects of my own brain injury, every Tuesday morning, I’m still usually knackered by conversation, and being around people and I arrive thinking my head is just full of mush! But with the approach that the Outdoor Project has and the work we do, I just feel more energised and I go away feeling like I can take on the rest of the week! It’s odd…I say conversation slows me down but we talk a lot here and it doesn’t have that effect. There’s a different meaning to it, I don’t know what it is - maybe it’s Headway magic."
“ The Hospital Brain Injury Co-ordinator became someone who absolutely understood how I felt, I didn’t need to explain. I could talk about my fears and worries. She was such a great support through the difficult days, but could also celebrate the small step successes, which was important to me. ”