Headway East London

23 October 2018

Headway East London is a local charity supporting over 850 brain injury survivors and their families across 13 London boroughs.

Their day service in Hackney welcomes more than 40 members each weekday; offering those whose lives have been irrevocably changed with a much-needed sense of community and belonging. In addition to providing a bespoke programme of therapies, advice and advocacy, family and community support, Headway East London also harnesses the talents and skills of their membership to participate in creative projects, such art, writing and cooking.

More than five years ago, Headway East London installed a kitchen within the centre, launching a lunch club scheme which sees members of the charity cook lunch for one another each day. For many this will mark the first time they have re-entered a kitchen post injury, providing an opportunity to both relearn skills and pick up new ones in a relaxed and social environment. The success of this project has also seen the launch of a supper club series, Headway Eats, where members of the public can pay for a three-course meal cooked, served by and eaten alongside brain injury survivors.

FareShare has supported this kitchen by providing Headway East with weekly food drop offs since July 2014 – delivering a range of fresh food each week.

Thomas Alexander, Headway East London, Kitchen Projects Co-ordinator says: “Food has always played a huge role in our work at Headway. Lunchtime is the one part of the day we see all members, staff and volunteers coming together so it would have been a wasted opportunity not to also make the food together. It’s a meaningful activity that enriches everyone’s experience of the meal and the members who’ve cooked it enjoy the feedback.”

“Everyone who comes to Headway experiences the effects of their brain injury differently. Some people live with physical disabilities, whilst for others it may be more emotional or behavioural. Many can struggle to find a place where they belong. The kitchen project has not only seen people take up new roles or support others within the Headway community, it’s also helped people to better communicate and understand each other through the food we choose to cook and the recipes and stories we share in the kitchen.”

“Since we started working with FareShare, our food budget has halved – savings that we can put back into the pot in to expand the services that we offer. The weekly delivery accounts for around 60% of our ingredients and we all love the variety that arrives on the doorstep each Monday. It means we can not only feel confident we’ll be making meals using fresh, good quality food; we also have the opportunity to be creative in our dishes based on the ingredients we receive.”