Billy Mann

Survivor: Billy Mann will host his own workshop. Photograph: Headway East London

Brain injury charity Headway East London has unveiled plans for a pop-up shop in Hoxton which will be run with the help of survivors.

The ‘Submit to Love’ store will be open from 8-12 May to coincide with Action for Brain Injury week.

Visitors will be able to learn about the experiences of survivors through a series of talks and workshops.

Products designed by survivors will be on sale too, which the charity says will raise “much-needed funds”.

One volunteer, 57-year-old Billy Mann, used to work for national newspapers before a stroke in 2012 forced him into early retirement. He said: “Surviving brain injury is different for everyone. I think I was quite lucky. I can still speak and write things down. I don’t have any major problems with memory.

“But simple, everyday things like brushing your teeth or making a cup of tea become a big challenge and take ages to do.”

Headway East London supports around 700 brain injury survivors each year, offering therapy along with a range of services including an art studio and a kitchen.

The centre also runs creative projects so survivors can get involved in music, photography, writing and gardening.

Billy added: “I had great support when I was in hospital, but what happens after that is just as important. You are a different person after brain injury and you need to find a new way to deal with life.

“Headway has given me that. Aside from all the activities such as cooking, art and exercise, it is a safe place where you can be yourself and get to know the new you.”

Billy will be running his own workshop at the pop-up. He didn’t want to give too much away, but hinted at what guests can expect: “It challenges your memory and attention, which is a daily struggle for many of our members. But it is great fun, too.”

Speaking about the impending launch, Headway East London’s chief executive Anthony Bonfil said: “We’re incredibly excited to open ‘Submit To Love’ to the public this May. This provides our members with an opportunity to share their knowledge and talents with the wider community, in addition to encouraging a more open dialogue about the effects of brain injury for both survivors and those close to them.”

The shop, located at 93 Kingsland Road, opposite the Geffrye Museum, will be open from 11am to 7pm every day, with some events taking place later in the evenings.

To find out more about the pop-up and the events on offer, please visit Headway’s website here

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