Headway East London

Headway East London

At a glance


  • Physical disabilities

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Our vision is to build a world where brain injury survivors are valued, respected and able to fulfil their potential.

Headway East London is a charity supporting people affected by brain injury. Working across 13 London boroughs we offer specialist support and services for over 600 survivors, family, friends and carers across East and North London from our day centre in Hackney.

Our day service provides a range of services within a community setting and works to prevent social isolation and create meaningful roles for its 160 members. In addition to providing a bespoke programme of therapies, advice and advocacy, family and community support, we also harness the talents and skills of our membership to participate in creative and occupational projects. We are the only provider of this kind in inner London.

We also promote awareness and understanding of brain injury by providing information, acting as an educational resource for universities, offering training to professionals and businesses, and running projects engaging our members with the public.

There are approximately 40,000 hospital admissions for brain injury in London every year. Survivors are some of the most vulnerable people in our community, faced with a complex range of cognitive, behavioural and physical problems that prevent them from coping with everyday tasks, maintaining relationships or returning to work. People lose their independence and self-esteem, become depressed and isolated. Family life and relationships are affected and, without support, often break down.

We’ve come a long way since opening our doors 20 years ago, with one staff member, a single volunteer and three brain injury survivors. Last year we extended our therapy service, delivered over 330 hours of community support each week, hosted our own pop up shop, exhibited artwork at the Southbank Centre and were featured on national print and TV publications. We’re pursuing more creative projects than ever, and look forward to what should be our most successful year yet.

However, many principles remain unchanged. We continue to believe that every one of our members has something to contribute to both Headway East London and the wider community.


Day Service: We run a community venue in Hackney which helps people make the most of their skills, abilities and interests. The centre is open Monday to Friday, 10am-3pm for 48 weeks of the year, offering activities, outings and therapies, as well as professional and peer support. It also acts as a base for our other services. A specific area of development in recent years has been the expansion of occupational activity and projects; which currently include an art studio and a professional kitchen, where members cook each day for other members, volunteers, staff and visitors.

Neurological Therapy Service: We provide neurological physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychological services, neuropsychology and complementary therapy for people affected by brain injury across our catchment. These can be offered at our day centre, at someone’s home, or at another venue in the community.

Community Support Work: We have an experienced team of community support workers specialised in supporting brain injury survivors in their own homes and their local community. The service can be offered in conjunction with our other services, whilst Support Workers have access to our team of experienced staff and therapists.

Casework and Support groups: We offer information, advice, advocacy, support and signposting to families and brain injury survivors in relation to housing issues, welfare benefits, health and social care services among others. From early intervention work in hospitals, to community support groups and peer support work – individuals can access the information and services most suited to their needs. This can take place alongside other services offered at HEL or as a standalone offering.

Saturday Social: We provide an opportunity for brain injury survivors living in our catchment area (and not currently accessing our day service) to meet and share a home-cooked meal with other survivors once a month.

Member-Led Training: We run Member-Led training for organisations, to help people understand more about acquired brain injury and the impact it can have. Members share their expertise about living with brain injury, through presentations, active learning tasks and personal stories, in ways which are highly engaging. Training is bespoke, adapted to the needs of the audience, and can be offered to a range of organisations.

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