Headway Emergency Fund

Due to increasing and unprecedented demand for support from the Emergency Fund, applications are currently only being considered for those with transport and accommodation needs to visit loved ones in acute care following a brain injury diagnosis. 

Please note, rehabilitation wards and units are not classed as acute care. However, if they are in the very early stages of rehabilitation (needing regular nurse input and are not medically stable) your application will be considered.

While regretful, we are implementing this temporary measure to ensure the sustainability of this vital support service. In the meantime, we continue to seek additional funding for this programme.

Supported by The Stewarts Foundation

Why does the fund exist?

  • The Emergency Fund provides one-off small grants to help adult brain injury survivors and their families cope with the practical implications of brain injury.
  • Please ensure you review the type of support the Emergency Fund can and cannot provide before making an application.
  • Most of our grants (82%) are used to help families be at the bedside of a loved one following a brain injury.
  • Since the fund was launched, we have supported thousands of families and provided grants of more than half a million pounds.

Who can apply?

As Headway – the brain injury association supports adults with a brain injury, we are unable to accept applications for children and their families. We are unable to support applicants who do not reside in the United Kingdom. Only one application per survivor of a brain injury can be considered and there must be a clear link between the request and the brain injury.

Please note, the Emergency Fund is there to support families who cannot afford the sudden practical implications of brain injury, therefore, we cannot support applicants with over £1,000 in savings.

What support can we provide?

  • Travel costs for families visiting relatives in hospital or rehabilitation
  • Emergency accommodation costs when visiting a relative in hospital
  • Clothing needs (related to the brain injury, such as significant weight loss)
  • Travel costs to ongoing outpatient appointments relating to the brain injury
  • Essential white goods where the need is related to the brain injury. For example, the survivor has lost their accommodation due to their brain injury and has been re-housed in accommodation lacking basic equipment such as a cooker or fridge.
  • Standard bed frames and mattresses (not electric beds).

We are unable to fund:

  • Costs already incurred
  • Taxi journeys, flights or visa costs
  • Mortgage or rent payments
  • Food
  • Carpets
  • Everyday household expenses
  • Housing adaptations
  • Debts
  • Private medical treatment
  • Utility bills
  • Childcare
  • Medical and mobility equipment 
  • Funeral costs
  • Items or services that are the responsibility of the local authority or NHS to provide
  • Any other respite breaks that are not the cottage in Pickering
  • Anything not outlined in the “What support can we provide?” criteria above

How to apply

Click the button below to make an application online. Alternatively, you can download an Emergency Fund application form to print, complete and send back to us at:

Headway Emergency Fund
190 Bagnall Road
Old Basford

In order to process your application, Headway requires verification of a brain injury.

If the individual with a brain injury is an inpatient, please ask a clinical professional to email emergencyfund@headway.org.uk with a summary of the case, a direct contact number and prognosis. If this is not possible, please ensure you inform the ward to expect a call from Headway, so we are able to obtain the necessary information.

If the individual has been discharged, please upload a photo of the discharge papers which will allow us to quickly process your application.

Apply now

What happens next?

We receive a high number of applications every month and endeavour to process them as quickly as possible. Applications are checked regularly and the most urgent applications are prioritised.

There are three stages to processing your application:

  1. Once we have received the application form, we will contact the applicant and the person in need of the grant (if applicable) for further information.
  2. We require confirmation of the brain injury from a medical professional, Headway group/branch or an NHS clinician. This will be discussed during the initial call with you.
  3. Your application will then be assessed. We will be in touch as soon as we have an outcome.


Once we have all the information we require, we will endeavour to make a decision as soon as possible. The decision will be final and we will not enter into further correspondence with applicants.

Regardless of the outcome, Headway staff and volunteers will endeavour to secure alternative assistance or appropriate signposting for applicants.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the Emergency Fund application process or how to complete this form, please feel free to get in contact.

E-mail: emergencyfund@headway.org.uk

All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Using case studies for fundraising purposes

The use of case studies significantly impacts our Emergency Fund and helps us to secure further financial support.

As part of our fundraising efforts, we may anonymise case studies from the Emergency Fund to demonstrate the impact of our work to potential donors.

If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact us. We appreciate your ongoing support and understanding.

Related information

My story

'It meant I could breathe'

Imagine being unable to afford to travel to be by the hospital bedside of your partner as they lie in a coma having sustained a brain injury? For Eleanor Simcox, and hundreds of others across the UK, this nightmare became a reality.

Find out how the Headway Emergency Fund gave the family space to cope. 

Read story