James is a Friend of Headway East London; making a regular donation to help support our services.
"People often overlook charities right on their doorstep that are improving the livelihood of people living on their own street."
About 8 years ago, when I moved into a flat by Shoreditch Park I started looking into charities that were operating in the area helping those impacted by head injuries as I had just experienced a serious head trauma myself. I started by reviewing the Headway website from both a technical and content perspective, as that is my line of work - and then fundraised for a charity run to raise cash for the East London center. I now donate each month. Unlike with some of the much larger charities out there - you feel like your money is making a direct, immediate difference. Having visited the centre, you can see the positive impact donations have.
My first impressions of Headway were that it was a great little place - really lucky to be next to the canal with the decking to watch the world go by. The team were great and I really liked to see the people the charity is caring for running things and in control - making food and drinks - controlling the music - cracking the jokes. I was interviewed when I visited the center by one of the people the charity was caring for at the time after ending an 100km run in the local area with a 20km leg that concluded jogging into the door of Timber Wharf .
Serious head trauma can be life changing - and it can happen to anyone. There are thousands of charities around the world for people to choose between - but I always like to support charities that have the greatest relevance to my own life. I like to help charities that function in my local community.
Brain damage is something that can happen to anyone. If you're lucky, a serious head injury can just be a dramatic life experience - but for many it changes their experience of life, dramatically.
I think lots of people feel that to be a good person they need to stick some money into helping charities - so they donate to charities that they recognise from the TV or the Tube...the ones with the big advertising budgets and big exposure. People often overlook charities right on their doorstep that are improving the livelihood of people living on their own street.
Having been a professional fundraiser I know how important it is - as with any organisation - to secure a regular income. Regular donations are the lifeblood of any charity that wants to plan for the future. If people could picture the way their life could change in a heartbeat like mine almost did, and they could see what Headway do for people in that situation - they would donate in an instant.
How can I get involved?
There are many ways to support Headway East London - whether it's volunteering, becoming a Friend of Headway, making a donation, taking part in fundraising or lending your services to a good cause.