Headway Milton Keynes – Creative Writing Group
I look back at the last few years with mixed feelings. 2021 provided lots of challenges for us all with the pandemic and there have been some highs and some lows, and I have learned lots of things about myself along the way. Particularly, the importance of friendships and spending time with people we care about.
My work with Headway Milton Keynes definitely counts as one of those highs. Headway is a charity that supports clients and their families that have been affected by brain injury. The charity provides lots of useful resources, support groups and sessions designed to help clients to work with their ‘new brain’ and try to facilitate progress with their recovery. I have been volunteering with my local branch in Milton Keynes since early 2020.
Being able to spend time with the Headway clients, whether it’s discussing the past week, cracking jokes or supporting them through their group sessions, is a real pleasure. Particularly during the pandemic, I looked forward to my volunteering sessions whether these were by Zoom or in person. It was great to see each other and was often the highlight of my week.
Last October, I was fortunate enough to take my volunteering even further as I got the green light to start up a creative writing group for my local branch.
Now a quick disclaimer – I’m no author, nor am I even remotely qualified to teach anyone how to write creatively! My interest came from most of my childhood years being spent with a nose in a book and writing short poetry (reciting it to anyone that would listen). I knew that several of the Headway clients enjoyed reading (including one client who is writing his own book on WW2). So I started the group with the aim of sharing ideas and thoughts on others’ work, with the hope that we would have a go at writing something ourselves.
I have to admit…I was worried that no one would show up to the first session given that there are lots of other exciting offerings at Headway MK such as an Art club and a Social club. But I was lucky enough for some members to give it a chance and they have remained with me ever since.
Over six months on, the group has been a success!
We’ve discussed writing themes such as:
- Halloween/horror genre
- New beginnings
- Reflective works
and lots more! Think works from Robert Louis Stevenson and Steven King all the way though to articles from The Daily Mail and delectable recipes from Nigella Lawson (‘sumptuous sauces’ and ‘oozy goodness’ for example).
Taking others’ work as inspiration, the Headway clients have produced some incredible work including their own poetry, news stories and written correspondence. Some of the clients are not able to write themselves due to physical and cognitive issues that have arisen as a result of their brain injury, but that hasn’t stopped them from coming to the sessions. With support from other volunteers and the fantastic staff, they have produced some amazing works. It is a real privilege to work with them.
I have learned so much from working with the clients. They have perseverance and dedication towards learning new skills. But above all, they are a lovely bunch and I enjoy spending time with them. I hope they enjoy spending time with me too.
This month, we are submitting poetry to the Milton Keynes Parks Trust poetry writing competition which is on the theme of water. The winners will have their poetry featured along a walking trial in Linford Manor Park. We’ll be submitting three entries – keep your fingers crossed and watch this space!
Maybe one day we’ll produce a famous author from the group. Who knows! For now, I’ll continue to look forward to my monthly sessions with the group.