Headway Essex Launch 2020 Black Tie Ball

Headway Essex Launch 2020 Black Tie Ball

Headway Essex’s annual black tie event will take place on Friday 6 March 2020 at the beautiful Stoke by Nayland Hotel, situated near Colchester, on the Essex and Suffolk border.

Hollywood Glitz and Glamour

We are extremely excited to announce that this year’s theme is Vintage Hollywood!
We always pay special attention to our popular themed black tie events to ensure that all our guests have a wonderful experience, whilst raising funds for Headway Essex. This year is no exception, so let us sweep you away with the romance, glitz and glamour of a golden era of Hollywood.

Sparkling Reception and Great Food

All our guests will enjoy a sparkling reception with canapés and a delicious dining experience with a three course dinner and coffee.


Raising Vital Funds

No Charity evening would be complete without a live auction and raffle. We know it is important to source interesting, novel and luxurious items for our guests to bid for in a fun and lively auction. Last year items included a luxury villa stay, a weekend in a cosy coastguard’s cottage and a golfing break in the luxury Vale Hotel and much, much more. We are working hard to make it even bigger and better in 2020.


Let your Hair Down then Lie Down!

The feel good feeling continues long into the evening. This year, back by popular demand, you can dance the night away with our amazing top disco funk band, Frisco Monk.
And if you really want to make it a special occasion there is the option of booking a room for the night at a special event rate and enjoy the extensive golf and spa facilities of the hotel.
So what are you waiting for?


Book your tickets today – Early Bird Offer

Our early bird offer is now live and will be available until Friday 20th December 2019.
Early bird ticket prices (only available until 20th December 2019)
£70 individual ticket
£650 table of 10
Standard ticket prices (from 21st December 2019 onwards)
£75 individual ticket
£700 table of 10
To book tickets or for any inquiries please contact the Headway Essex Fundraising Team on fundraising@headwayessex.org.uk or call 01206 845945.
Terms and conditions can be found on our website www.headwayessex.org.uk

Swim, Run, Pub

Swim, Run, Pub

On Saturday 5th October, the Headway Essex fundraising team headed down to Shoeburyness to be a part of an exciting and fun event called Swim, Run, Pub. The event was organised by Headway Essex Trustee, Rob Warren and the Chalkwell Redcaps open water swimming club and they invited Headway Essex to be part of the event.

The Spectacular Seafront Route

This year’s event saw participants take on 10km run along the lovely Southend seafront broken up with five invigorating swims in-between. Starting with a swim from Shoeburyness East Beach, runners then headed along via Thorpe Bay Yacht Club, Jubilee Beach, Chalkwell Beach (home of the Redcaps) before ending up at Bell Wharf, Leigh-on-Sea for the final refreshing swim and a well-deserved drink at the pub with friends, family and supporters.

2020’s Event Will Be Even Bigger!

Headway Essex are thrilled to be getting more involved with this event next year and will be working closely alongside Rob and the Chalkwell Redcaps to put on the 2020 event. We want to see more people get involved and the event will be open to individuals and team entries. There will be medals and certificates awarded to all participants, as well as a guaranteed good time for everyone involved!

Want To Get Involved?

The 2020 Swim, Run, Pub is in the early stages of planning but will take place in October with final details to be confirmed. You can register your interest in the event using the contact details below and we will keep you updated as our plans progress.

We are also keen to hear from local residents who would like to be part of this exciting event by volunteering your help on the day.

Contact Us

Contact our fundraising team on 01206 845945 or email fundraising@headwayessex.org.uk if you are interested in being a part of this event. Also, be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates on the Swim, Run, Pub and all future events.

Headway Essex to be the primary Colchester Half Marathon beneficiary in 2020 – the event’s 10th Anniversary!

Headway Essex to be the primary Colchester Half Marathon beneficiary in 2020 – the event’s 10th Anniversary!


On Sunday 29th March 2020, over 4,000 runners will take on the Colchester Half Marathon to raise over £60k directly and over £250k indirectly through runners’ own efforts for good causes.


Returning for its tenth year, it has firmly established itself as one of the biggest and best races in the region. Organised by a group of dedicated volunteers from Colchester Round Table, alongside many individuals from in and around Colchester, it really is a fantastic community effort with people working tirelessly throughout the year to ensure a great race day experience.


Close to the cause


Headway Essex has been involved with this event for years and manned one of the official water stations, but this year Headway Essex will be the main benefiting charities and will receive a 75% share of the income raised.


The start and finish line is at Weston Homes Community Stadium, almost a stone’s throw away from The Headway Centre and promises to be an amazing mass-participation event bringing together local runners, businesses and the community. Runners can enjoy this half marathon set in the historical town of Colchester while making a positive difference to charities in the area.


Take part with Headway Essex


As a partnership charity we’ve been given 20 guaranteed entry places, all we ask is that you donate/raise £30 and we’ll register for you. In return you’ll receive a Headway Essex technical running vest and a massive cheer on the day. If you’re up for a challenge please get in touch with the fundraising team to register your interest by emailing fundraising@headwayessex.org.uk or calling 01206 845945.


Volunteer with Headway Essex


If that sounds too energetic then why not join us on the day and help us marshal the event. We need to recruit 100 people to help, if this sounds more your cup of tea please get in touch with us at fundraising@headwayessex.org.uk or calling 01206 845945.


Whichever option you choose it’s guaranteed to be an amazing and rewarding experience being part of such a large iconic event.



Headway Essex Classic Vehicle Show brings crowds to Castle Park

Headway Essex Classic Vehicle Show brings crowds to Castle Park

Visitors to the Essex Classic Vehicle show in Colchester Castle Park, on Sunday 15th September, were transported back in time, to admire motoring classics of a bygone age. This nostalgic event organised by local brain injury charity Headway Essex is now in its fourth-consecutive year and continues to grow in popularity.

A thriving event

With over 240 classic vehicles from across the decades on display, the event attracted over 2500 visitors to Lower Castle Park. With a combined vehicle history of over 7,000 years, it was a real treat for visitors to view the classic vehicles in all their glory and chat to the owners.

An arena show presenting the best vehicles was the main event of the day, as the selected proud owners showed off their cherished cars. Trophies were awarded various categories including best pre-war car and best vehicle of the show.

The winner of the coveted ‘Best Vehicle at Show’ was a Ford Popular 103e 1958.

Spectacular entertainment

As well as plenty of wonderful classic vehicles to admire, local singer Steve Brewer and free-runners and acrobats Team Kinetix, entertained the crowds. There was also a wonderful selection of craft, gift and food stalls.

An extremely successful day

This year’s event raised over £10,000 which will go to ensure that Headway Essex can continue to provide rehabilitation and support for brain injury survivors and their families and carers in Essex.

Tracy Wellsted, Headway Essex Fundraising Manager, said: “It was an absolute delight to see so many people attend and raise such a fantastic amount of money. We’re also incredibly grateful to all the classic vehicle owners for their support in making this such a wonderful event and for the Charity Classic Vehicle Club for deciding to partner with us again this year.

“A special thanks as always to our wonderful team of volunteers, including the Rotary Club of Billericay Mayflower and the Essex Police Cadets who helped us run the event on the day.”

Thank you

Everyone at Headway Essex would like to say a massive thank you to all of those involved in the event. To see the photos from the day head over to our Facebook page. For more information on upcoming events please keep an eye on our website and social media; Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

South Essex Sessions Up & Running

South Essex Activity Sessions Up & Running


We are pleased to announce that our South Essex Brain Injury Hub, has rolled out various different activity sessions throughout the summer months, to help people to become more independent and confident.


Brain Injury & Me


Our foundation activity is Brain Injury and Me, a programme created to give the individuals a better insight into their injury, its effects and impact on others and tools and techniques to compensate.


The feedback we have received has been very positive. The attendees claim they have gained peer support and are able to talk freely about their condition, something they may feel unable to do with close family, but with a little encouragement, this obstacle has been overcome. These sessions run for a 9-week period on a Wednesday Morning commencing at 10.00am, until approx. 13.00pm.


Fitness for All


We have also rolled out Fitness for All a gentle exercise class suiting all abilities, which can be done seated or standing. During our class, we aim to help improve balance, posture, core strength, muscle strength and co-ordination. It truly does not matter what your ability is, almost anyone can join in, including those in a wheelchair. Our client’s say they receive great peer support, have a good laugh and enjoy the group discussion once the session has finished. Fitness for All is held every Tuesday afternoon from 1pm, until approximately 14.15pm.


Cooking for the Brain


Our Cooking for the Brain session, follows the Fitness for All class. This is a class to help individuals gain some independence in the kitchen, preparing basic meals using healthy ingredients that can be beneficial to the brain. Cooking for the Brain is held every Tuesday from 14.30pm, until 16.30pm. You may choose to come along to both Fitness for All and Cooking for the Brain on the same day.


Fatigue and Me


Fatigue and Me, will soon be commencing in October. During this session we will discuss ‘What is Fatigue’, it’s effect’s on you and others, we will also look at ways to help you reduce your fatigue levels. These sessions will run for a period of 2 hours, commencing at 14.00pm on a Wednesday afternoon, over a 5 week period.


Contact us


Over the course of the Autumn more sessions will follow, which will be announced in our next Newsletter. To access our sessions please contact the Benfleet Brain Injury Hub on 01206-482461 to gain further information. Please note our sessions will be subject to an assessment.

Halloween Bake Off 2019

Halloween Bake Off 2019

This Halloween Headway Essex are holding a Halloween Bake Off! Get creative, bake some spooky treats and raise money for a great local charity.

Get Involved

To get involved you will have to;

  1. Bake a Halloween treat (this can be a cake, cupcakes, brownies, cookies and more!)
  2. Send us a picture of your creation and a donation to Headway Essex. (Each individual entry is a £1 minimum donation.
  3. We will announce the winners for the following prizes on Thursday 31st October 2019 (via social media) and we will contact you to arrange sending your certificate.
  • Most spooky treat
  • Most gruesome treat
  • Most creative treat

Terms and conditions

Entry pictures can either be emailed to us on fundraising@headwayessex.org.uk or posted on social media (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter) and must use #headwayessexhalloween to be entered

Donations can be made via Facebook, Virgin Money Giving or via PayPal (payments to be made to webshop@headwayessex.org.uk)

All entries must be submitted by Wednesday 30th October 2019


Contact Us

For any questions you may have please contact the fundraising team on 01206 845945 or email fundraising@headwayessex.org.uk

Fundraising for Headway Essex

Fundraising for Headway Essex

Headway Essex relies on fundraising to provide vital services to brain injury survivors and their families. Hosting your own fundraising event can be a fun and very rewarding thing to do and we are very grateful to the people who give up their time to raise money in this way. There are many different ways people can do this and there is more information on this in our fundraising guide. We are always happy to discuss fundraising ideas with supporters and provide promotional materials for the event.

Connection with Headway Essex

It is very heart-warming when someone who has received help from Headway Essex, decides that they want to give something back.

Recently Sophie Headford, who hosts a dance event each year, contacted us to say this year, she had decided to donate the profits of her event to Headway Essex.

Sophie said “My Mum had a static brain haemorrhage brought on by a direct blow to the head after she fell at Leigh tip 5 years ago. This was a life changing injury for her and had life changing consequences for me and my family.”

“I was given Headway Essex phone number early on during the 18 weeks my mum spent in Southend hospital. At that time I wasn’t sure how they were going to be able to help me. It felt as though my whole world had collapsed and would never be the same again. I did however call one day, when I was very low and spoke to a girl called Emma. I cried a lot and we talked a lot and she called me every week to see how I was coping and how my mum was getting on. It was really good to talk and I really appreciated the support Headway Essex provided at this devastating time.”

“Sadly, Mum passed away in September 2019 as a result of numerous strokes and vascular dementia caused by the accident.”

Sophie’s Dance Event

“Every year for the last 12 years I have organised a fundraising evening for numerous local charities. I had been a professional dancer in my younger years and taught dance to adults for the last 20 years. ‘Delusion’ the dance troupe came about 15 years ago and we are a group of 8-12 women who love to dance.”

“The evening was a wonderful tribute to my Mum and a fundraiser for Headway Essex. It was a great night full of singers, musicians, comedy and magic and together we raised £1740. I am proud of what we achieve and know this money will go towards helping another family who may need Headway’s support.”

Get Involved

If you want to host an event, or fundraise for Headway Essex, we would love to hear from you. You can e-mail fundraising@headwayessex.org.uk or phone 01206 845945 (option 5).

A Long Road to Recovery

A Long Road to Recovery

Merita Isufi’s life changed forever, following a tragic car accident on 4th July 2014. Merita and her son survived the accident, but tragically, her husband and 2 other children did not. Coping with such a devastating loss is more than most of us would have to bear in a lifetime, but Merita was also left with a brain injury and the struggle of a long journey of rehabilitation ahead.

Rehabilitation Support at the Headway Centre

As part of her rehabilitation, Merita now attends the Headway Centre in Colchester. One of the activities available to people who attend the Headway Centre is trampolining. At these sessions trained therapists provide a specialist programme and support, which is suitable for people of all abilities and is a great benefit to the more severely disabled. In addition to improved fitness, muscle and core strength, trampolining sessions have other benefits, such as, improved confidence, improved ability to follow instructions, improved/maintained mental health and reduced stress levels.

Positive Progress through Trampolining Sessions

Recently we sat down to speak to Meritas and her carer Andreea. Andreea has been Meritas carer since April 2018 and in that time they have formed an incredible bond. Andreea told us about how far Merita has progressed since she has been working with her. “We do 2 trampolining sessions a week, the consistency of which I think really helps Meritas progression (along with her determination of course). She also goes to the gym three times a week and attends the Headway Essex day centre two days a week.”

Paul, one of the Headway Centre care officers commented on the progress Merita has made “Merita has come so far on her journey since the accident. When she first came to us at Headway Essex she had to have two people to help her walk. Now she is able to walk independently with a carer nearby.” Meritas progression has a lot to do with her trampolining sessions as the balance and coordination she needs for this really help with her being able to walk independently.

Exceeding Expectations

Merita has continued to exceed everyone’s expectations as she has recently been awarded two awards for her trampolining progress. On the 29th June 2019, she was awarded 3rd place with the Tiegan Rose Cup and on the 12th July 2019 Merita was awarded with an independent jumping award. Merita told us how “amazing” trampolining makes her feel.

Paul went on to tell us “every time Merita is set a goal in her trampolining sessions, she achieves it extremely quickly. A couple of weeks ago we set her a goal to jump independently to reach by Christmas this year and she’s already achieved it. The progression and determination Merita shows is truly unbelievable”.

We are all very proud of Merita at Headway Essex and we are looking forward to seeing the further progression she makes.


If you would like more information on Headway Essex services and how we can help you, please get in touch on 01206 845945.

Returning to Work After a Brain Injury

Returning to Work After a Brain Injury

Following even a mild brain injury, daily life can be affected, including employment. Common hidden affects can be fatigue, short-term memory issues and unable to work in a noisy environment. This means, people may be unable to do the job that they once did in the same way, or may no longer be able to do it safely.

Returning to a familiar workplace

This does not have to mean they are no longer able to work, but may mean they need adaptations to their workplace, or a different role.

Ideally, it is better to return to a job you know well rather than to try a new job as familiarity of the role, colleagues and the working environment can all be helpful.

Helping with the Transition

Although the employee does not have to disclose or give details of their brain injury to their employer, it might be useful to help with the transition.

Depending on how the individual is affected, some ideas that the employer and employee should consider are:

  • Gradual return e.g. two or three mornings a week or working from home initially
  • Returning with shorter hours
  • Allowing more breaks through the day
  • Returning with less workload
  • Taking up a different role

Supportive Employers

We were please to read a recent press article where Nottingham-based civil and electrical engineering firm McCann, supported a colleague to return to work after a stroke and heart surgery. The full article can be read here.

For more information on this topic, can be found in the Headway Information Library on our website

Ben Wilson tells us his story

“You would never think about taking your laptop about without putting it in a case. Why would you not do the same for your own brain – the most precious computer you will ever own and for which there are no spare parts?”

This is a quote that Ben Wilson, one of our clients at Headway Essex, feels very strongly about following his accident. Here, he tells us his story and how it has affected his life.

My name is Ben and I am 23 years old. I was just 20 years old when I had an accident that changed my life forever.

The Accident

On the morning of the 22nd August 2017, I was driving to Stansted airport to meet some friends to go on a free running holiday (which was one of my many hobbies at the time). I was driving too fast and at 5:12am my car hit a tree and I was found 52 minutes later by a passer-by named Dave Baker. I’ve met him since and he is a great guy.
I was away from home for 144 days in total during my recovery. At first I was taken to Broomfield hospital, from there I was transferred to Addenbrookes where I stayed for 60 days. Finally I spent 12 weeks at Fen House (a neuro-rehabilitation centre) before heading home.

My Physical Injuries

The consultants told me I’d never walk or talk again. My crash caused me to break 2 parts of my skull and shatter my left eye socket which has given me double vision when I look right and down. It gets very frustrating however it’s slowly getting better. I also broke my lower spine in 3 places (L2, L3 and L5), I broke my right leg and I broke my right arm which they didn’t find out until 6 weeks later as the full body scan missed it due to the larger bone covering the broken smaller bone underneath.

The Hidden Injuries

Hidden injuries remain long after the physical wounds heal. Due to stopping so fast I got a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The effects of my Brain Injury, a year after my accident, are that my personality has changed. My family and friends have had to adjust to this, as have I. I also find it hard to feel emotion now; however, I don’t get nervous anymore like I did before my accident.
Fatigue, not tiredness, but real fatigue is a problem, as my brain has to use other pathways to get a job done, so its energy drains quickly. I also struggle with my short-term memory, which is annoying but I now use my phone to remind me of everything. I also lost my sense of smell which I miss because you don’t realise how much you use smell every day. At least I can still taste food! These may sound like silly little things but all together, they make me a very different person and I have a very different life from where a 23 year old normally is in life.

How My Life Has Changed

I am more dependent on my family than I was before my brain injury. When I first got back home, I was very reliant on people for help and reminders which they wrote onto a weekly timetable. I’m not yet able to return to work and I lost my driving licence because of my brain injury. I’ve noticed that people who were friends are now acquaintances and just people I know. I only now have one real friend so that is a big change as I feel isolated and alone unless I’m at Headway Essex.

How Headway Essex Helped Me

Headway Essex have helped me with understanding my personality and attitude towards other people.
A group of us who met through Headway meet socially and we all talk and get along well, it’s a great group! We understand the issues we face on a daily basis and all learn from each other, which is extremely helpful.
Headway Essex has helped me with memory aids and now I am no longer dependent on my family to remind me of things. I use my smart phone calendar and reminder alerts, notes for shopping and other little lists. I have learnt to put things in obvious places so I see & find them, otherwise I’d lose things and remembering where you last saw it is difficult if you don’t remember recent things clearly.

Set a Positive Goal and Aim for It

Headway Essex understand my goals and help me achieve those successfully using interim goals and actions. I live at home with my parents and I can’t buy my own house, as I’m not earning any money….yet. Therefore, my ultimate goal is to get my driving licence back and return to work. Set a positive goal and aim for it!

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