Disabled men showcase photos

Ken with Carol Haines and one of his photos which is being exhibited at the Queens Park arts centre
Ken with Carol Haines and one of his photos which is being exhibited at the Queens Park arts centre

A photography exhibition is being held to showcase the work of four men who suffered brain injuries.

The four meet weekly for a class which aims to rebuild confidence and renew skills.

The group members are now working towards a ‘social enterprise’ award by taking, exhibiting and marketing photographs.

And now an exhibition of the photos is being held, until Friday at the Queens Park Arts Centre in Aylesbury.

The theme is local landscape; seeing the world through their eyes.

Photographs will be sold for around £20 and mugs will also be available for £5.

One of the members is Ken (surname unavailable).

His life changed forever when, without any warning, he woke up one morning with a headache, collapsed on the floor and then couldn’t be fully woken for the next month.

Doctors feared at first he was suffering from meningitis, but it turned out to be a stroke – caused by a burst artery in his neck.

That was almost two years ago, in January 2012, but the lasting brain injury resulting from the stroke has meant a radical difference to the life of the father-of-three from Bedgrove in Aylesbury.

Before the collapse, Ken worked as a network professional in the information technology field for Lloyds Bank plc - where he had been employed for 30 years - managing a team of about five people. He was a keen cyclist.

But now, even though Ken’s outward appearance may not look any different, he feels the injury has significantly slowed down his abilities and greatly affected his sight.

“Part of the problem is I look okay, but I certainly feel I am held back with a rope around me slowing me down,” he said, adding: “It’s odd but things just don’t seem the same.”

Ken, now 52, took retirement from the bank and no longer works as is unable to go back to full-time employment due to the effect of the stroke.

However, like a group of other men with head injuries, he was keen to find something to help put his life back on track.

As a result, a social enterprise class was set up last April for Ken and three others by Buckinghamshire Adult Learning, working in partnership with the Community Head Injury Service (Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust) and Headway, the brain injury association.

Money raised from the exhibition will go back into the group’s next venture.

Carol Haines, senior tutor, said: “We asked them what they wanted to sell and earn a profit from and photography seemed to fit the bill.”

For more info on the class call 01296 432726.