Headway Suffolk

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Professor Winston Headlines Headway Suffolk Conference

Neurology charity Headway Suffolk is delighted to announce that Professor Robert Winston will be a headline speaker at its fourth Neuro Conference on Wednesday 10 October 2018 at Kesgrave Conference Centre, Twelve Acre Approach, Kesgrave.

Professor Winston is internationally-renowned as a scientist, doctor, politician and writer, and has an extensive media career in television and radio as one of Britain’s best known health experts.  His book, The Human Mind, explains how the human brain works.  He is also a prominent Labour peer in the House of Lords.

His most recent high-profile TV appearance was in September 2017 on The Late Late Show with James Corden, where he spoke about his most recent book, My Amazing Body Machine: A Colourful Visual Guide To How Your Body Works, and produced various scientific experiments.

Professor Winston will present to Conference delegates on how the human brain works from his wealth of knowledge and expertise.

Headway Suffolk has attracted huge interest in its first three Conferences, with author Jane Hawking talking about her life as a family carer in 2017, famed scientist Stephen Hawking making a rare public appearance to discuss his life with motor neurone disease in 2016, and local brain injury survivor Andrew Renton taking his first public steps in 21 years in 2015.

This year’s event promises to be another highlight in Suffolk’s calendar with Professor Winston set to be joined by other eminent keynote speakers (to be announced in due course) to address guests on a broad range of subjects related to brain injury and neurological conditions.

Helen Fairweather, the charity’s Chief Executive, said: “Headway Suffolk is gaining a reputation for having renowned speakers at its annual neuro conference, and this year is no exception”

“We are very excited about Professor Winston speaking at our conference.  Neurology is one of his passions and areas of expertise.  We are all looking forward to hearing what he has to say.”

Tickets are priced at £40 (plus booking fee) and are available from Eventbrite at: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/headway-suffolk-neuro-conference-2018-tickets-40194431627.

Make Headway Launches Website

Make Headway is a group of individuals learning skills and abilities in preparation for work following a brain injury, with support from charity Headway Suffolk.

By supporting this group, you are helping clients’ rehabilitation, raising awareness and understanding of brain injury, as well as generating funds for Headway that go directly back into helping us improve our services.

You can view and order items through the group’s website: www.makeheadway.org.uk. You can also find them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/makeheadwaysuffolk.

Brain Injury Survivor Helps Headway Win Grant

A brain injury survivor from Haverhill has helped a local charity receive £500 from a Cambridgeshire Freemason Lodge for rehab equipment to help others with their recovery.

Dean Osborne was 26 years-old when he sustained damage to his left frontal lobe in a car accident in May 2013, which has left him with mobility and memory difficulties.

Dean, now 31, is supported by brain injury charity Headway Suffolk with his recovery programme, which includes accessing Headway’s satellite hub service at Chalkstone Community Centre in Millfields Way on Wednesdays, which helps users with rehabilitation, life skills and social interaction.

Headway identified a need for a variety of new equipment to help users with cognition, fitness, concentration, planning, memory and judgement, as well as creating greater social skills and team work.

This includes cooking items to help improve daily living skills with preparation, planning and dexterity, giving clients better options and variety of learning and making meals to aid life skills.  The supportive aids are designed to help those with limited co-ordination and one-sided weakness.

Using his links with a previous employer before his accident, Dean put Headway in touch with the Cambridge Masonic Lodge of Three Grand Principles No 441 to fund the purchases.  The Lodge meet on the first Monday from October to April at Freemasons Hall in Bateman Street, Cambridge.

Worshipful Master Paul Ashby and Charity Steward Bob Hammett presented Headway and Dean with a cheque for £500 at the Chalkstone Community Centre on Wednesday 20 December.

Headway Suffolk moved its premises in Haverhill to the Chalkstone Community Centre in the summer to meet the growing demand of its service in the area after three years being based at the Burton Centre in Camps Road, which helped to establish its service in the town.

The service is open every Wednesday from 9.30am – 3.00pm, and it helps users who may have cognitive, physical and sensory difficulties with rehabilitation, life skills and social interaction to help aid their recovery.  It also gives family carers much-needed respite.

The move to the Chalkstone Community Centre has enabled Headway the use of a greater space and multiple rooms, along with the opportunity of opening a second day a week to meet demand.

The cost of the service for new referrals is £52.41 for a full day and £29.11 for half a day.

To learn more and take advantage of a free ‘taster’ day, contact Zellah Andrew on 01284 702535 or email: zellahandrew@headwaysuffolk.org.uk, or visit the website: www.headwaysuffolk.org.uk/haverhill.

Headway identified satellite hubs in towns across Suffolk to reduce fatigue (a common effect of brain injury) and travel costs to its main hubs in Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich.  Haverhill was the first established and remains the most popular, with 15-20 users every Wednesday.

The Chalkstone Community Centre is owned by River of Life Community Church, who are fundraising to refurbish the centre: https://mydonate.bt.com/events/buildit

Dr Jane Hawking becomes patron

Headway Suffolk is delighted to announce that Dr Jane Hawking has become a patron of the charity that supports local adults with acquired brain injuries and neurological conditions.

Dr Hawking gave a fascinating keynote speech at Headway Suffolk’s Conference on October 4 about her experiences of life as a family carer to her first husband, Professor Stephen Hawking, who has motor neurone disease.

She also gave recommendations on improving conditions for family carers, citing that there had been little progress made in some areas since she was a carer more than 40 years ago.

Her patronage of Headway Suffolk will help the charity’s cause with improving life and conditions for family carers of those living with an acquired brain injury or a neurological condition in the county.

The charity’s Chief Executive Helen Fairweather said: “Headway Suffolk is delighted that Dr Jane Hawking has agreed to be our patron.  She is a wonderful lady, who fully understands the challenges of neurological conditions and family caring.”

Dr Jane Hawking said: “I am delighted and honoured to be invited to become a patron of Headway Suffolk.  The support of the victims of neurological conditions and their family carers is a cause close to my heart.”

Dr Hawking also charted at the Conference how her life and 2007 autobiography, Traveling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, made it to the big screen, into multiple award-winning 2014 film The Theory of Everything.


Exhibition To Showcase Clients’ Art

Kesgrave Arts will be hosting an exhibition of 20 creative works from Headway Suffolk clients from Tuesday 24 – Saturday 28 October.

The studio, located at 83 Main Road in Kesgrave, is owned by South African-born artist Theronda Hoffman, who has been a keen supporter of Headway for a number of years.

Art is used as a method of expression and creativeness, and it helps to promote focus, concentration, imagination and individuality.  The work on display will be available to purchase.

Prince Harry viewed and discussed art work by clients during his visit to Headway in Ipswich in July and autographed their work.

Headway supports users who have one-side neglect on their dominant side following a brain injury to learn to use and strengthen their other side.  With this in mind, Theronda has had a device constructed, titled ‘Hoffman Art Grip’, to help users with their grip and control.

Theronda became a full-time artist in 1989 and has had exhibits throughout the world, including Canada, France, Italy, Chicago, Germany and London.


Headway Suffolk supports 250 adults a week who have an acquired brain injury or a neurological condition with rehabilitation and therapy at its hubs, in the community and at home.

The charity helps users to rebuild their lives, improve skills impaired as a result of their injury or condition, and live more independently.

Join us for our annual Awards Dinner – 23 November

Join us as we celebrate the achievements of local brain injury survivors over a delightful 4-course dinner on Thursday 23 November in Ipswich.

The year, the event takes place at the fantastic Shelley’s Restaurant – the culinary heart of Suffolk New College.  Arrival is 6.30pm for 7pm.

The 100-seater restaurant boasts glowing reviews on Trip Advisor for its quality local produce, classic and modern dishes, great service and value for money.

The evening, which is sponsored by East of England Co-Op, will feature prize giving for brain injury survivors that have made outstanding progress during the past year, as well as a raffle.

Tickets are £35 each and available from calling 01473 712225 or by email: helenfairweather@headwaysuffolk.org.uk

MenuClick to view the evening’s menu

Jane Hawking gives inspirational Conference talk

Over 200 delegates enjoyed our third annual Neuro Conference at BT Labs in Martlesham on October 4, with Dr Jane Hawking giving a fascinating keynote speech on her experiences as a family carer.

Jane, the first wife to Professor Stephen Hawking, described how their life made it to the big screen, and then charted her caring role for the famed scientist and gave recommendations on improving conditions for family carers.

Conference guests also heard from stroke consultant Dr M Rahman Chowdhury; Dr Tim Lockington on Parkinson’s disease; Wendy Holden (author of five Minutes of Amazing) about Chris Graham’s courageous battle with dementia; Helen Fairweather from Headway Suffolk, Ruth Booy of Irwin Mitchell; Cllr Rebecca Hopfensperger (Suffolk County Council Cabinet Portfolio holder for Adult Care); and BT Labs director Paul O’Brien.


Countdown to Neuro Conference

Headway Suffolk is on a five week countdown to its third annual Neuro Conference on Wednesday 4 October at BT Labs, Adastral Park, Martlesham Heath.

The Neurology charity attracted huge interest at its first two Conferences, with brain injury survivor Andrew Renton taking his first public steps in 21 years two years ago, and then 800 guests attending last year to watch world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking make a rare public appearance.

This year’s event promises to be another highlight in Suffolk’s calendar with four eminent keynote speakers lined up to address guests on a broad range of subjects related to brain injury and neurological conditions.

Helen Fairweather Chief Executive of Headway Suffolk, said: “We are very excited about our third Conference.  Once again, we have some excellent speakers.  Following on from last year, Dr Jane Hawking will talk about her caring role to her first husband, Professor Stephen Hawking.”

Image copyright The Telegraph   

Dr Jane Hawking is an author and educator.  She will be talking on family carer issues having cared for Professor Hawking, who has motor neurone disease, during their 30-year marriage.  Her 2007 autobiography, Traveling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, was made into the multiple award-winning 2014 film The Theory of Everything.

Chris Graham is a former British Amy soldier who is living with a rare, inherited early-onset form of dementia, diagnosed aged 34. Now 42, his book Five Minutes of Amazing, published in September 2016, charts his heart-warming story, which includes cycling 16,000 miles across North America that raised £52,000 for research.

Dr M Rahman Chowdhury has been a stroke consultant at Ipswich Hospital for over four years, working out of Shotley Ward where hyper-acute and acute stroke services are provided.  He will talk about the development of treatments in stroke care, which was well received last year.

Dr Tim Lockington is a consultant on movement disorders in east Suffolk and he will present on his speciality interest, Parkinson’s disease, which he learned while senior registrar at Royal London Hospital.

Conference delegates will also hear from Cllr Rebecca Hopfensperger, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Adult Care, kind event sponsor Irwin Mitchell and generous host BT.

Tickets are again priced at £30.  Booking can made via this Eventbrite link with a £2.45 booking fee: or by email at: helenfairweather@headwaysuffolk.org.uk.

Local prisoners fundraise for Headway

Eighteen prisoners from HMP Hollesley Bay in Woodbridge have raised £750 for Headway Suffolk’s Brainy Dog project, after completing a half-marathon in the prison’s grounds.

The idea was the brainchild of one prisoner after he enjoyed four months’ voluntary experience with Headway’s brainy dogs project as a walker and trainer, and wanted to give something back to the charity.

The prisoner, who has now been released, organised the event on 23 May with another offender and momentum quickly gathered pace, as a half-marathon circuit consisting of 21 laps was marked out in the prison grounds and saw 18 prisoners in total take part, cheered on by 50 others.

The brainy dogs scheme, now in its seventh year, is supplied rescue dogs who are then trained by a small team of prisoners to become companion dogs to people with a brain injury or a neurological condition.

Representatives from Hollesley Bay presented Headway Suffolk with the cheque at its hub at Epsilon House, Ransomes Europark in Ipswich on 24 July.

Helen Fairweather CEO of Headway Suffolk said “We are grateful to the prisoners for raising this money for us. We very much hope that this has helped with their rehabilitation.”

Presentation photo (left to right): Dave Price (Hollesley Bay gym instructor), Ginette Forbes-Smith (brainy dogs), Sophie Mayes (brainy dogs), Gayle Fogg-Elliott (Headway trustee) and Wayne Howlett (Hollesley Bay Governor).

Prince Harry launches brain injury card in Suffolk

HRH Prince Henry of Wales launched a new initiative from UK-wide brain injury charity Headway at our Ipswich hub on July 20.

The charity’s Brain Injury Identity Card will help the police identify brain injury survivors and ensure they are given appropriate support when they come into contact with the criminal justice system.

The card also has the additional benefit of breaking down social exclusion, with card holders having renewed confidence in the knowledge that they can easily explain their support needs should they require assistance in everyday situations.

Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway, said: “We are delighted that Prince Harry has generously agreed to support this important project.”

To apply for your brain injury identity card, go to: www.headway.org.uk/idcard


Coverage of the launch is featured in the Ipswich Star: www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/prince-harry-visits-headway-suffolk-in-ipswich-to-launch-brain-injury-id-card-1-5115957


A gallery of 20 official Headway Suffolk photos