Headway is the UK-wide charity that works to improve life after brain injury.
The Headway role
Brain injury survivors
Headway helps brain injury survivors come to terms with their new circumstances, re-integrate into family and community life, and maximise their opportunities and choices.
Families & carers
It also provides practical and emotional support for families and carers, recognising that they too are coping with new and demanding responsibilities that can leave them feeling isolated and inadequate.
The Headway network
There are over 120 Headway groups and branches, covering much of the UK. The range of services offered depends on local need and available resources.
The smaller branches are run by volunteers whose main aim is to provide both social support and opportunities for brain injury survivors, as well as peer support for carers. The larger groups also give support to families and carers as well as offering a range of activities and services for people who have survived a brain injury. The majority of groups have one or more Headway centres, which clients attend on a daily or weekly basis, and a few of the largest groups offer supported living.
Headway in practice
While the scope and number of available activities and services vary, the work is always rehabilitative in nature, recognising individual needs and helping the person to adjust to the new, and often changing, situation and move forward in the most appropriate way. The overall approach is participative, with clients, staff, volunteers and family members working together.
Activities are planned to achieve agreed personal goals. They will often include tasks to improve social, communication and cognitive skills, ranging from those that are mentally stimulating - such as IT, creative writing and poetry - to practical activities such as pottery, gardening and woodwork, which help with dexterity and problem solving deficits. Opportunities for relaxation, group work and project work enable clients to build relationships in a safe environment.
Some Headway centres employ speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists; others work in partnership with seconded therapists from NHS services.
For relatives and carers, support is given either individually or in a group setting and courses are run on topics such as the effects of brain injury on the individual and the family, coping at home and self-care.
All of these activities take place within a regulated framework, ensuring that at every stage of the client journey, changing needs are assessed, progress is monitored and health and safety of clients, staff and volunteers are fully protected.
Headway groups and branches throughout the UK work closely with local commissioners to provide services to people affected by brain injury. Because each group or branch has been set up to respond to local need, the services they offer will vary.