Back in 2014, the Lloyds Bank Foundation funded Headway Derby to run a small pilot project which would see them deliver accredited training courses to the people that they support, to see if it made a positive change in their lives.
Over that year a number of courses were delivered, all based around promoting more independent and healthy lifestyles. The independent evaluation at the end of the pilot confirmed that yes, people had definitely benefited from attending the training.
Fortunately, the Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group also saw the benefits of this approach and are currently funding an expansion of this project.
Thanks to this funding, Headway Derby are currently running a Certificate in Skills for Employment and Further Learning. This course is made up of a number of subjects, which had been identified as important to people recovering from a brain injury;
Managing Finances and Healthy Living.
The training has been developed by Headway Derby staff specifically for people who have had a brain injury. This means that the focus of the course can be changed at any time to suit the needs and the circumstances of the learners. The course is delivered to a small group of learners (no more than 9) with a team of staff and volunteers on hand to provide 1 to 1 support where needed.
The course runs for 6 months on 1 day each week and is a very informal affair, certainly not like being back in a classroom! Most of the learning takes place through group discussions and people sharing their own experiences. Learners are given tasks to carry out through the week that help them relate to the topic that's being discussed, such as doing 5 minutes of mindful activity every day, completing a spending diary or just having one positive thought about themselves at the end of each day.
One of the learners, Shirley, said
“It keeps me focused to do things that we are
given to do at home. I feel that I am actually
making my brain work.”
Richard, who is a current learner on the course,
“The staff and volunteers have helped me to organise my time, my feelings and my actions to be honest. This is not necessarily through a school type setting, but through general chats.”
Richard has gained a lot from attending the training;
“All in all, I am a better person now, I am a functioning person now, I am giving back. I am me again, and I firmly believe this is because Headway Derby exists.”
In terms of giving back, Richard now attends events on behalf of Headway Derby to share his experience and promote the work that they do.
Each person on the course is making wonderful progress in a way that is relevant to them. Another learner, Jean, has returned to work following the training;
“I am in no doubt that it is the support given to me by Headway that has enabled me to do this and I hope that in the future I will be able to return to the centre to help others in the same situation.”
At the moment, Headway Derby can only continue running the courses up until March 2018, when the funding from Southern Derbyshire CCG comes to an end. However, because so many benefits of this type of service have been identified, the charity are hoping to continue providing the training even after this date. Derby Oddfellows are now supporting Headway Derby in this aspiration, by undertaking fundraising events throughout 2017 specifically for this cause.
Health is Your Wealth Magazine