Behind The Scenes: Headway Feast London

Our intern, Kitty, takes us behind the scenes to see what everyone's working on in the run up to our 20th Birthday Gala 'Headway Feast London'...

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As ever, this morning there were enticing smells coming from the Headway kitchen, but today was particularly special as long time HEL supporter and baker, Pete Smith, was showing members a thing or two about crisp breads... we had a quick catch up with him between bakes:

Hey Pete! What are you guys up to this morning?

Pete: We’re making honey flax seed crisp breads, they’re a Finnish bread that we’re going to use with cured salmon at the gala dinner. I got the recipe from Stanley Ginsberg who wrote a book about rye making in eastern Europe. We made these last year for another Headway event and they went down really well.

Lovely! Why have they got holes in them?

Pete: It’s a traditional Finnish thing, they bake these because there isn’t a lot of fuel for their bakeries so they only run their ovens a few times a year. The hole in the middle is so they can hang them on a stick in the rafters to dry and they can keep them for up to six months.

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It all makes sense now...How did you first get involved with Headway?

Pete: So I volunteered here for five years. A lady at my church said I don’t do enough and her son worked here so yeah that was five years ago and I’d just finished my baking training and I wanted to practice at social enterprises with baking as a therapeutic thing. I spoke to the volunteer co-ordinator at the time and said here’s what I want to do… I don’t really know how I’m going to do it but I’m going to figure it out as I go along. They let me make a lot of hockey pucks and burn a lot of bread. Every time we do this we get at least a couple members involved.   Pete now works at a Garvald in Edinburgh, a bakery that’s staffed by people with learning disabilities

For Thursday’s gala, the Headway Choir will be showing off their talents. Performing both original songs and covers, members have been keenly rehearsing for the past few weeks. Lina and Margi are avid choir-goers, who discussed with me their pro attitude when it comes to performing and their love of the choir.
Lina said: ‘We’ve been there from the start. It’s like a release, you think about something else, it’s positive and happy. For me, I love to go as it challenges my memory. Usually, if I can’t remember something, I can’t do it, but with this I can remember the song and I don’t have to read it.’ Member, Margi commented, ‘I love being altogether, I like the way I can express myself. To me, singing is how I can communicate well, it’s a way I can put a message across.


Our decorations for Thursday are an authentic representation of Headway; playful, colourful and full of life. The main design to be found on bunting, centre pieces and the menus (which guests are able to take home as a memento) is a classic screen-printing design by members at Headway, previously used on our tea towels.
The design is a sort of garden diary, noting the progress of the Headway garden and the pesky slugs that threaten it! Accompanying this will be foraged centre pieces, with foliage from our own garden, herbs grown at HEL and donated flowers.
Everything is full steam ahead here at HEL and we all can’t wait for Thursday! Thanks to our fantastic sponsors Irwin Mitchell for supporting the event and to all who donated goods & raffle prizes!

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