by Ally Jackson
A brain injury has a dramatic impact on an individual’s life, whether it has been acquired through stroke, cancer, or a traumatic event.
The effect of a brain injury varies from person to person with cognitive issues ranging from emotional dysregulation, memory deficits and communication difficulties, and physical issues ranging from mild to severe impairment.
Headway Gwynedd and Mon are a non-profit organisation who’s mission is to combat the social isolation which often accompanies these issues by promoting socio-emotional adjustment and connection.
Crucially, they provide support and information for family, carers, and friends who are also impacted when their loved one has an injury.
As well as holding a supportive meeting group twice a month they run a Headway Friends scheme where service users meet up with a volunteer buddy to encourage social engagement.
In January, Headway Gwynedd and Mon ran the Brigantia Bake Off where students, lecturers, and service users alike mixed, floured, poured, and decorated their way into the Bake-Off competition to compete for best Showstopper, Technical and Signature! With Psychology Lecturer Dr Richard Binney and Bangor University Chef Aled Cross-Davies judging, this was the second year the event was held and it turned out to be just as incredible as the first raising a total of £494.64 with many thanks to Santander for match funding the event.
After judging the real competition was on to see who could eat the most cake, and once all were suitably caked up the remaining Bakes were donated to St Mary’s Hostel in Bangor.
The money raised from this event will go toward materials for the Sensory Healing Garden, a collaborative project with Student Volunteering Bangor and the University Horticultural Society to create a safe, accessible, and friendly outdoor environment not only for people with a brain injury but for all who wish to enjoy it.
The Sensory Healing Garden is a celebration of nature with vegetable beds, cold frames, a live willow dome and Welsh Heritage fruit trees.
Sensory gardens are an ideal environment for those with sensory difficulties, such as brain injury patients, as a person can begin to explore their surroundings and learn to overcome sensory overload and low social confidence.
The money raised from the Brigantia Bake Off will go towards materials for a new therapy hut, which Headway and the Healing Garden hope to use for rest and reflection.