Spring is nearly here and, at long last, I am about to begin a new series of Expressive Writing sessions with the Edinburgh Headway Group – a charity for people with acquired brain injuries.
This project has been a long time in the making – I first began volunteering with Edinburgh Headway this time last year, when they advertised for a Creative Writing Volunteer. For me, an Expressive Writing practitioner in a new city, looking to gain experience and make an impression, this was too good to miss. For around 7 months I planned and delivered weekly writing sessions for the group who – despite many obstacles – embraced the creativity. I loved running the group and spending time at the centre but – as anyone who works in this field will know – there is a huge time investment outside of the allotted hour. As a newly self-employed person, I simply couldn’t keep giving so much of my time, and it was with a very heavy heart that I made the decision to leave as a volunteer.
Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear from the centre manager a few weeks later, telling me that she hoped to find funding to keep the writing group going. This – along with feedback I had received from staff and group members – was so hugely encouraging. The work that I had been doing as a volunteer had proved its value. I sent some information to support the funding application, and waited.
Now I sit, surrounded by papers, poetry, old session plans (and coffee!), ready to embark on a year-long project with Edinburgh Headway. Over the course of the year, I intended to explore some of the decisions, challenges and joys of tailoring a writing group to people with acquired brain injuries. You can watch this space to read along, or choose from the subject headings here as I add them.