An Interview with Headway, the Brain Injury Association

How has the pandemic affected Headway?

The Coronavirus pandemic is unlike anything we’ve ever had to face. As a charity that relies on voluntary donations, the past months have been challenging for Headway, and the long term impact of this crisis will continue for many more months, if not years. We are anticipating a potential drop of £1.3 million in income for this year alone.

For brain injury survivors and their families, the current crisis is made even more challenging by effects such as memory problems, impaired reasoning, anxiety and difficulties coping with change.

Emotional and behavioural issues such as irritability, frustration and anxiety can make social isolation as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic hard to cope with.

Our recent survey revealed that the lockdown is causing survivors and their families confusion and fear, exacerbating the existing effects of their brain injury and causing untold stress and anxiety to the point that they’re struggling to cope.

Brain injury survivors and their families need us now more than ever and we have been working hard to ensure we are there to support them through these challenging times.

What changes have you had to implement as a result?

Since lockdown began, we have:

  • Published several articles for our brain injury communities, which are packed full of tips on how to manage in a lockdown.  The articles feature advice on managing your physical and mental wellbeing and have been read by thousands of people living with the effects of a brain injury.
  • Supported our network of over 120 locally-run groups and branches across the UK and Channel Islands who have shown extraordinary commitment, creativity and flexibility to continue to provide services for brain injury survivors in their regions.
  • Joined forces with 23 other charities to talk to the government about the challenges brain injury survivors are facing accessing food during the COVID-19 crisis. We are urgently calling for supermarkets to make sure everyone with a disability get priority access to supermarkets and home deliveries of food and that the government should work with us to make sure no one misses out on the support they need.
  • Ensured our freephone nurse-led helpline has remained open to anyone who requires support or information about brain injury. They have taken thousands of calls since the outbreak of COVID-19 and although the team cannot answer medical questions about the virus, they have offered reassurance and a friendly voice.

What support can be given to Headway during this time?

There are a number of easy ways you can continue to support Headway throughout these unprecedented times.

Become a Friend of Headway

By becoming a Friend of Headway, you will be helping Headway provide essential services to brain injury survivors, their families and carers throughout the UK.

You’ll be given access to a wealth of information about brain injury, a logo pin badge, Headway wristband and the latest edition of Headway News.

Throughout the year, you’ll also benefit from Quarterly editions of our magazine and a monthly e-news bulletin, access to a free or discounted Will writing service and 10% discount on Headway publications from the online shop.

Direct donations

Headway relies on voluntary donations to continue the provision of vital services and support to brain injury survivors and their loved ones.

Whether you set up regular monthly donations or just a one-off donation, every pound given will make a huge difference to the lives of those we support throughout the UK.

Amazon Smile

You shop. Amazon gives. Amazon smile is an easy way to donate to Headway. Simply use Amazon Smile each time you’re doing your Amazon shopping and they will donate 0.5% of your purchase to help us support brain injury survivors at no extra cost to you!

Facebook birthday fundraisers

What if you could help brain injury survivors just by getting older?! If your birthday is coming up, consider setting up a Facebook Fundraiser for Headway to celebrate! The money you raise will help us reach more individuals and families affected by brain injury.

It doesn’t have to be your birthday to support Headway through Facebook fundraisers – you can get involved any time of the year.

It’s simple to set up, just head over to our Facebook page (Headway – the brain injury association) click on the fundraisers tab, set up your own page and ask your family and friends to donate.

Virtual fundraisers

Why not host your own virtual fundraiser? Just because physical fundraising events have been cancelled or postponed, it doesn’t mean you can’t still fundraise for Headway by setting up your own virtual event.

Dream up your own virtual fundraiser – whether that be an online quiz with friends, an exercise class set up on Facebook live or a concert from your home streamed on your social media – and ask for donations towards Headway through JustGiving and Virgin Money Giving.

To find out more about how you can support Headway, visit

Catherine Maddy

Headway, the Brain Injury Association