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Nottingham brain injury centre connects with Openreach engineers after dialling for help

Press release   •   Sep 18, 2017 14:33 BST

L-R Neil Lehane (Openreach), Rhiana Lakin (Headway), Michael Tansley Thomas (Headway), Brendan Oakes (Openreach) and Darren Chawner (Openreach)

A Nottingham charity specialising in providing rehabilitation and support for people with serious brain injuries is making good use of unwanted telecoms wires and cables.

Headway Nottingham, based in Bilborough, contacted BT’s MyDonate, the not-for-profit online fundraising service, because it was struggling to find wires and cables to help make figurines in its popular art therapy sessions. The charity use the fundraising platform for donations.

They were put in touch with Openreach, the business responsible for the majority of the UK’s local phone and broadband network, prompting Neil Lehane, a senior manager in Nottingham, to rally support within his team to not only find unwanted materials, but to also sort and prepare them. Most of the work took place in the engineers’ own time, outside of working hours.

The end result is thousands of unwanted bits of wire and cable are now being donated to the charity’s day centre, something Neil and his colleagues are delighted with: “When we received the request from Headway Nottingham, we all felt it was something we wanted to help out with. As a team, we enjoy putting something back into our local communities and one of the advantages of working for such a big organisation is that we have lots of resource and willing volunteers available.

“When a cabling or wiring job is finished, there are often bits left over, which are too small to use elsewhere and end up being recycled. We spoke to Michael, the services manager at Headway Nottingham, who let us know what length and thickness was best. And after a bit of searching around, we were able to get hold of some and it didn’t take long to get them cleaned up, sorted and ready to donate to the charity.”

Headway Nottingham, founded in 1996, provides the only long-term set of services in Nottinghamshire for people affected by brain injury, their families and carers, including a day rehabilitation and support centre and an early intervention service.

More than 100 people use the centre and services manager Michael Tansley Thomas says the donated materials will make a huge difference: “We are so grateful to Neil and the team for putting in so much effort, particularly in their own time, to get these materials for the sessions. Even though to some it may seem like just wire, in the use and construction of the sculptures the clients work on essential aspects of the injury, like planning, task management, sequencing, concentration and memory skills, task completion and improved mental health. All of these aspects combined mean that, through Openreach enabling us to deliver these sessions with the desired materials, it goes a long way to help the progression of our clients over the longer term.”

It’s not the first time Openreach engineers in the Nottingham area have volunteered to help support community projects. Just last year, the same team renovated a playground, including providing new play equipment, at Arnold View Primary School.

Volunteering is a core element of BT’s strategy. The latest figures available show that, in a typical year, BT people in the East Midlands contribute more than 2,000 volunteering days to worthy causes, amounting to in-kind support of nearly £670,000. MyDonate - BT’s commission-free online fund-raising service – has helped raise more than £1 million for charities across the East Midlands.

People can make a donation at to support the work taking place at Headway Nottingham.


About us

Openreach is Britain’s digital network business. That means we connect homes, mobile phone masts, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, broadcasters, governments and businesses – large and small – to the world. It’s our mission to build the best possible network with the highest quality service, and make sure that everyone in Britain can be connected.

Our 30,400 people work on behalf of more than 580 communications providers like Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and BT. Our fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, covering more than 26.8 million premises. And our technology is the basis of Britain’s thriving digital economy, which is the largest of the G20 countries.

We’re working hard to give people the broadband speeds they need at work and at home. Over the last decade, we’ve invested more than £11bn into our network. And we now manage more than 158 million kilometres of cable stretching from Scotland to Cornwall, and from Wales to the east coast. But we’re not stopping there – we’re making superfast broadband speeds available to thousands more homes and businesses every week.

We’re owned by BT Group and independently governed. Our business is highly regulated, and more than 90 per cent of our revenue comes from services that are regulated by Ofcom. Any company can access our products under the same prices, terms and conditions.

In the year ending 31 March 2017, we reported revenues of £5.1bn.

To find out more about us and what we do, go to