Headway Rochdale and Bury


How Did Headway Begin?

The story of Headway began in 1979 when Sir Neville Butterworth placed an advert in a national newspaper seeking holiday accommodation for his brain-injured son. Dinah Minton and her husband Barry, themselves carers, responded and set out with Sir Neville to find any support networks that already existed.

Around the same time, two social workers, Philip Lockhart in Birmingham and Reg Talbott in Nottingham, also contacted Sir Neville. The five agreed to call a meeting for all those involved in the care of brain-injured people. A total of 23 carers and professionals attended a meeting on October 23rd 1979 and Headway was born.

Headway (National Head Injuries Association) was registered as a charity in March 1980 and a Management Committee was formed the following year. At the first AGM in December 1981, there were 22 local groups present. Demand for support from Headway and the formation of new groups was intense. The 1970s had seen dramatic advances in neurosurgery, keeping alive people who would previously have died from their serious head injuries. Sadly, these advances were not matched by parallel funding of expert rehabilitation and community-based care services, with the result that head-injured people were being discharged into the care of unprepared families or despatched to totally inappropriate institutions.

The first Headway House was opened in Gloucester in 1983, providing a day-centre to assist in long-term rehabilitation, respite care and hospital liaison. This was so successful that other Headway Houses were soon started in Basingstoke, Colchester, Reading and Bristol, with many more to follow.

In 1985, Headway moved to new premises in Nottingham and Reg Talbott was appointed its first Director. The Hillsborough disaster in 1989 spotlighted the chronic shortage of expertise and resources in the field of brain injury and was pivotal in bringing the issues to ministerial attention, following strong representation from Headway. In the same year, the charity was incorporated into a limited company and in 1990, following the recommendation of management consultants, the first Executive Director was appointed.

The charity's status was greatly assisted in April 1991, when HRH Diana, Princess of Wales, consented to become Royal Patron, a position which she continued to occupy until 1996. During this period, the Princess took a very real interest in the charity's work and attended a number of Headway functions resulting in extensive media coverage and a much enhanced national profile. She announced her decision to withdraw from most of her public duties at the Headway Christmas Lunch in 1993 but remained a Patron for the next three years.

In 1994, the first Brain Injury Resource Worker was appointed to work in the Scottish Borders region and the initiative was so successful that a policy of greater regional support was adopted by the Board. In 1997, the charity's groups were divided into charities in their own right (Groups) and smaller local organisations (Branches) operating under the national charity umbrella. Typically, the Branches focus on self-help and rely on volunteers while the Groups employ staff to provide a range of services, often including Headway Houses and Centres. In 1998, the AGM was attended by 96 Groups and Branches representing 56 Headway Centres.

A new logo was adopted in 1999 and the charity's remit was extended to include support for people suffering from other forms of acquired brain injury such as encephalitis or meningitis. The first year of the new millennium coincided with Headway's 21st Anniversary, marked by a celebration at Westminster Abbey and the adoption of a new branch constitution.

In 2001, Headway was instrumental in the re-formation of the All Party Group for Acquired Brain Injury and the same year made a major contribution to the House of Commons Health Select Committee Inquiry into head injury rehabilitation. The resulting report led in due course to the publication of the National Service Framework for Long-term Conditions.

The charity's name was changed in the same year to "Headway - the brain injury association". The national Helpline was formally launched in 2003 and the first Headway Charity Shop was opened in Ilkeston, Derbyshire. In the following year the charity celebrated its Jubilee with events around the country and a spectacular Awards Luncheon at the Dorchester.

Two key new appointments took place in January 2005. Headway's first Standards Manager was appointed to develop and assist with the introduction of comprehensive service standards across the organisation. A Training Manager was appointed to provide courses for staff, volunteers and health and social care professionals. In March, the long awaited National Service Framework for Long-term (neurological) Conditions was published, providing a strategy and a blueprint for the development of services for brain injury survivors over the next 10 years, and the publication of a Code of Conduct for Personal Injury Solicitors was widely welcomed.


Headway - the brain injury association is a registered charity (no 1025852) and a company limited by guarantee (reg. no 2346893).

Responsibility for oversight and governance lies with the Board of Trustees.

Reporting to the Board are the following Committees:

Headway Groups are independently registered charities affiliated to Headway - the brain injury association

Headway Branches operate under the registered charity number of Headway - the brain injury association

A small team of staff and volunteers works out of offices in London and Nottingham.

The departments are:



L/Cpl Johnson Beharry VC

On 18 March 2005, Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry was awarded the Victoria Cross - the highest military decoration for valour in the British and Commonwealth armed forces.

While serving with the 1st Battalion of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment in Iraq, Johnson twice saved members of his unit from ambushes, sustaining a serious brain injury in the latter engagement. Today, Johnson still suffers from the residual effects of his brain injury, including poor memory.

Johnson Beharry is now a Special Ambassador for Headway - the brain injury association. Johnson said: "The world is full of heroes who don't get any recognition, people who everyday face challenges in their lives - who learn to live again following brain injury or who care for loved ones who are injured".

In his role as Special Ambassador for Headway, Johnson has helped raise awareness of the effects of brain injury through numerous media interviews in which he has shared his personal testimony of how his own brain injury has affected his life and the lives of his loved ones. In addition, Johnson takes time out of his busy schedule to attend Headway events, including the Headway Annual Awards where he often presents deserving finalists with their honours.



Andrew Green (Chairman)

Andrew Green is Minister for Housing in the States of Jersey. He was elected as a Deputy in the States Assembly in November 2008.

Andrew was previously a senior manager in the Jersey Health Service responsible for support services with 400 staff with a 12 million pound budget. He was also a lay Magistrate in the Jersey Youth Court. He is a carer for Christopher (his son) who suffered a TBI when aged 9 years. Chris, still requires support to enable him to develop his full potential.

A founder member and chairman of Headway (Jersey), Andrew has led the Group through rapid development from a Branch to a Group providing day care and other services. Under Andrew's leadership a housing association has been formed (the Scott Gibaut Homes Trust) and plans well advanced to provide eight assisted independent living homes.

He was awarded the MBE for services to the community in the Queens Birthday honours in June 2006.


Evelyn Vincent (Deputy Chair)

Evelyn is a founder member of Headway Basingstoke, which started in 1982. She was instrumental in their opening of the second Headway House in the UK in 1986.

Brain injury has been part of her life for 30 years as her brother suffered a catastrophic brain injury in 1977, when she was 15. He died in 1987, and Evelyn has continued her work for Headway at local, UK and international level.

She has been Chairman of Headway Basingstoke since 1984, and has previously chaired the South East Region. Evelyn served on the Board of Trustees from 1986 - 1988, and from 1997 to date and is currently Deputy Chair of Headway UK. She has served on the Audit Committee, is currently Chair of the Membership Committee. She is also Headway UK representative for BIF, Brain Injury Confederation for Europe. She is married with two children, one of whom has special educational needs.


Colin Reeves CBE (Honorary Treasurer)

Colin is an economist and qualified accountant. Colin held a number of senior financial positions, starting in local government and then moving into the NHS including National Director of Finance & Performance for the NHS and Director of The Accountancy Foundation Review Board. Since 2003, he has been an independent Healthcare Consultant.

He was co-opted to the Board of Trustees in 2005


Allistair Renton (Company Secretary)

Allistair has been involved with the Ipswich and Colchester Headway Groups since his younger son Andrew suffered serious head injuries in a mountain climbing accident in 1994. He has been a member of Headway Ipswich and East Suffolk since 1995 and has held the post of Chair since 1999 when the branch attained Group status.

He joined the Board of Trustees in 2000


Julie Bridgewater

Julie sustained a severe head injury when she was hit by a speeding car in 1988. Since then she has become very active with Headway North London and is now a Trustee. She is also active in the London Region. Julie has become very knowledgeable about the effects of brain injury and has given talks at a number of events both in the UK and abroad. In 2004, Julie was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Headway Annual Awards ceremony.

Julie was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2006


June Gilchrist

June has been involved with Headway since 1983 and founded Headway Tayside in 1984. She is delighted to act as Patron for this Group and to continue to work with them. June believes that Voluntary Sector organisations have a valuable and unique role and that Headway makes an important and often crucial contribution to the lives of survivors of brain injury, their families and carers. She is delighted to be able to continue to contribute to the work of Headway and is keen to see it develop further over the next few years.

June is a Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist and has worked within the National Health Service with brain injury survivors and their families, carers and other professional staff since 1979. She has worked both in Neurorehabilitation and an Acute Neuropsychology Service in a large Regional Neuroscience Centre. She continues to work on a regular basis with our local Headway Group.


Andrew Harding

Andrew is a partner at a solicitors based in South Wales. He provides support and assistance to brain injury survivors, their carers and families on a daily basis and established his firm's specialist multi disciplinary Brain Injury Unit in 1998. He is a Deputy Circuit Judge (Recorder), a member of the Public Guardianship Office (Court of Protection) Receivers Panel and regularly acts as a Receiver.

He joined the Committee of Headway Cardiff approximately 8 years ago and is now the Chairman.

He was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2002 and serves on the Membership Committee.


Abraham Lawrence

The Reverend Abraham Lawrence has held a number of senior management positions in the public and voluntary sectors in the past 15 years. He is a Member of the Working Together in London Management Board (working to improve mental health), a Trustee of Rethink where he sits on the Policy & Campaigns Committee, an Independent Management Consultant and Independent Adviser to the Metropolitan police, a practising Minister and a Magistrate.

He joined the Headway Board of Trustees in 2002.


Brendan McKeever

Brendan first encountered Headway after suffering a brain injury circa 2002. He started voluntarily with Headway Belfast and soon found himself serving on the Board and becoming Chair. His previous job prior to having the injury was Head of TV Licensing for Scotland and Northern Ireland and he was about to take responsibility for the London area when his life changed dramatically.

Since being involved with Headway, Brendan is keen to see its development in Northern Ireland. As Headway Belfast has now secured recurrent funding from the Health Board he feels we are entering a new era for the charity in Northern Ireland. It is hisintention to enhance the charity presence in Northern Ireland and therefore the brain injured families its role is to support.


Colin Shieff

Colin is a Consultant Neurosurgeon based at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London. He has served as Chair of Headway North London for many years.

Colin is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army and has completed 5 tours of duty in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. He was awarded the Queen's Volunteer Reserve Medal in 2011 for his services to injured soldiers.



Contact Information

Headway Rochdale and Bury

Tel: 01706 390560

Meeting times

We have NO Drop In sessions scheduled at this time. Please contact Headway Rochdale & Bury by phone or e mail and we will try to assist you.

01706 390560 or headwayrnb@gmail.com