Headway Suffolk is looking for new volunteers to bring a variety of skills, experience and knowledge to enrich the experience of its service users.
The charity, with its HQ based in Ipswich, supports 250 local adults every week who have an acquired brain injury, stroke or a neurological condition through its extensive range of rehabilitation, therapy and support services.
There are a number of opportunities available, from helping with gardening, cooking and arts and crafts, to spending a little time with someone to help them with socialising and communication skills, or helping users get involved in cognitive games and exercises.
Helen Fairweather, Headway Suffolk’s Chief Executive, said: “Volunteering can be great fun and gives you a chance to get to know someone and to spend quality time with them while taking part in stimulating activities. It gives you a sense of achievement that you have enriched someone’s life for a few hours.
“It can also be a great way for people who are looking at a career change to see what working for Headway is all about and the fulfilment and joy you can get by supporting others who value your efforts.”
Those with volunteering experience will also have an added advantage when the charity actively recruits for its new Professor Stephen Hawking Neuro Centre in Ipswich, which is due to open next year.
One person who knows about the mutual benefit volunteering at Headway Suffolk can bring is Glynis Tryon, who has helped with reading stories and engaging in conversation and evoking memories with service users for six years.
Glynis, from Drinkstone, near Bury St Edmunds, said: “I enjoy talking, and stories can trigger memories and conversations. It gives empathetic feelings, as well as a few giggles.
“For youngsters, volunteering is a good starting point. For others, like me, you don’t feel so useless and it gives pattern to the week. You are still part of the world and included. It makes people feel worthwhile.”
In Suffolk, there were 3,201 total admissions to hospital with acquired brain injury in 2016-17. That is 8.7 per day. Head injuries were the most prevalent cause with 1,318, while 1,215 were stroke and 421 were tumours.
The brain controls everything we do and brain injury can affect every aspect of who we are. The physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioural effects of ABI can have devastating consequences for individuals and their families.
To enquire about volunteering, contact Helen Fairweather on 01473 712225 or email [email protected].
Further information and volunteer testimonies can be found at www.headwaysuffolk.org.uk/volunteering.