Power of art: How brain injury charity Headway is keeping classes going by moving online


A charity working with brain injury survivors is having to rethink the way it helps people recover during lockdown.

Headway East London runs art classes to help people find a sense of community and feel supported.

Normally everyone taking part would meet in a studio but now they're getting together online.

"They would normally come to the studio because they are isolated. So it's really important we help people realise there are not alone. They're home but not alone," said studio manager Michelle Carlile.

As well as moving classes online Michelle and her team have been posting art supplies and encouraging people to do whatever they can from home.

"For some people they don't necessarily understand what's going on. People may feel it's personal that they can't come to Headway. But as time goes on people are starting to get to the new way of working," Michelle added.

Among those being helped by Headway is Billy Mann who had a stroke seven years ago. He said the art group had been the most important part of his recovery.

At first the transition in lockdown was tough on his mental health.

"I just felt a lot of despair. I sent a long email to Michelle [Carlile] about fear. And Michelle came back to me saying 'start making things'," said Billy.

Headway says art helps people "feel joy" and to engage with other people.

With many of their members are vulnerable and isolating. Michelle and her team don't know when they will be able to open the studio again.