Headway Arts Online

Headway Arts Community

Related film: Headway Arts at Blyth Beach



Responding to Covid-19

Headway Arts has been quick to respond to a crisis of support for Learning Disabled People. They are amongst the most vulnerable in society having underlying health conditions, multiple disabilities and therefore often struggle with mental health too.

As we are reaching out to our people we are hearing them daily reporting to us their distress, anxiety, confusion and suffering in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The abrupt suspension of their daily support networks and disruption to the routines necessary for maintaining their wellbeing is shocking.

Many of our people are now living in fearful isolation, some separated from their ageing family in supported housing where staff are struggling with increased workload due to sickness, and carers and families are having to coping without respite. Then there are those able to live independently in the community relying on us for emotional support and advice on how to cope.

This has brought the service we normally provide to a sharp focus demonstrating not only its valuable role in keeping disabled people creative and included in society, but its value in maintaining good mental health and wellbeing and in helping people to be safe, feel secure and find new routines.

Thrown into this sudden new worrying world, we all need reassurance and support to adjust to his awful, but necessary, period of isolation and separation. Headway Arts are pivoting our services to provide and maintain this valued support network for participants with special needs, their families and supporters.



Keeping Connected

Headway Arts is often described to be ‘like a family’, a place where we all feel like we belong, where we feel happy and safe and creative together. We passionately believe that making art and being creative makes us feel better about ourselves and so we create a better world. We have a culture of kindness and a mantra of support. We value everyone in our community highly and we help each other. We build strong relationships. This is the Headway Arts family. For some we are the only family.

Great families look after each other, so in this difficult time we are making sure we are all doing just that – through keeping connected. Until we can all meet again and in response to the need identified we have refocused to provide an online programme. The Stars creative workshops will now be online. We are also organising phone sessions, coaching, and postal projects.

Our groups are still working together to keep our minds, bodies and creative muscles active and our connections maintained.


Checking in

Through regularly checking in with those who are in need, we are helping people transition into social distancing, maintain important relationships, understand recent changes, keep creative and combat the worst effects of isolation. We are making vital human connection, to reassure and combat low mood, anxiety and stress and offering tools for relaxation and managing stress.

Without our continued support the effects of isolation could be very damaging to people’s long term mental health and physical wellbeing. We are aiming to provide the support to our community tailored to meet their special needs.

We are also using our artistic tools to prepare for coming back together in social situations, which will mean adjusting once again to the changes around us, harder for those who have special needs who have withdrawn during isolation.


Headway Arts Online

Connecting our learning disabled community during Covid-19 isolation

MONDAY – Yoga and Movement
TUESDAY – Making and Mindfulness
WEDNESDAY – Dance & Movement
THURSDAY – Theatre & Expressive Arts

Information Advice & Guidance
One by One
Information Advice And Guidance telephone support for people not online, reinforcing ways of staying safe. Also access digital support.

Online Zoom meetings, tutorials, facilitated group sessions with digital access. Understanding the Covid-19 situation and self protective measures during isolation. Tools for managing stress. Supports staying safe online and also The Stars workshops.

Home Working Projects
Prepared creative projects and study for our groups to do at home.

Art Box
Sending art materials and equipment home.

Email hello@headwayarts.co.uk for further details.

We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of all our funders which currently includes:

  • Arts Council England
  • Blyth Town Council
  • Community Foundation
  • Edward Gostling Foundation – RW Mann Trust – Shears Foundation
  • Erasmus+
  • Great Northumberland
  • Hadrian Trust – High Sheriff of Northumberland – Rothley Trust
  • Heritage Fund
  • National Lottery Community Fund
  • Northumberland County Council
  • Postcode Community Trust
  • Sir James Knott Trust
  • The 1989 Willan Trust – Wellesley Trust
  • the Coalfields Regeneration Trust