Headway East Northants, based in Irthlingborough, is an independent registered charity, providing specialist services for people aged 18 and over with an acquired brain injury.
The charity was originally a community-based service but was incorporated on 1st July 1999 (company number 03788049). Additionally, we are affiliated to Headway UK, the brain injury association.
We are incredibly proud of our team of staff and volunteers, and of course our fantastic clients and their families. We have a super range of facilities aimed to interest, stimulate and socialise our client base.
We really do aim to provide something for everyone, whether it’s getting hands-on in our woodwork construction room, ‘having a go’ with a musical instrument, or creating something amazing in our art workshop. Everyone is encouraged, supported and, above all, valued.
We provide information, signposting and both practical and emotional support services for people with Acquired Brain Injury (‘ABI’), their families and carers.
If you’d like to visit us, and see all this for yourself, you can be guaranteed a warm welcome at Headway East Northants! We’re always happy to welcome visitors to our centre for a look around and a chat. If this is of interest, please do get in touch.
Our Mission at Headway East Northants
To promote an understanding and awareness of brain injury.
To provide quality information, services and support to brain injury survivors in the community, including their families and carers.
To offer a safe, welcoming and non-judgmental environment for brain injury survivors in which to socialise, relearn and regain lost skills, and be a valued and included individual.
Our Aims and Objectives:
To provide quality information and support for the people in our community with a brain injury, and their families/carers.
To ensure our that our services meet the needs of those with a brain injury, and that those specialist services are of the quality they deserve.
To provide a place where people with a brain injury can come to be with others who understand, and a place where they can gain support from each other without judgment or impatience.
To enable people with a brain injury to remain in their own homes and continue to be a part of the community in which they live.
To work with, and build relationships with, all our stakeholders to ensure that our services change, develop and grow in line with changing needs.
To increase awareness of brain injury and its consequences in our community.
How we can Help
If you or someone close to you has sustained a brain injury, Headway East Northants is here to give you information, help and support, both practically and emotionally.
The charity has an Activity Centre which offers a varied and interesting range of services. We offer a person-centred service that understands the complexities of ‘the hidden disability’ and the problems that may arise with cognitive, memory, communication and behaviour.
Dr Keith Jenkins, Chair
Keith Jenkins is a Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist. He is committed to providing the best possible services and support for people with an acquired brain injury through the work of Headway East Northants.
Barbara Woodbridge, Treasurer
Barbara qualified as a solicitor in 1996 and specialises in claiming compensation for people who have an acquired brain injury.
Lynne Couzens, Trustee
Lynne worked as a Speech & Language Therapist at St Andrews Healthcare, prior to her retirement.
Mary Lees, Trustee
Mary was delighted to be invited to become a Trustee of Headway East Northants. Now retired as a social work manager, Mary Lees initially qualified in medical social work at Southampton University and first worked in a London hospital. Having moved to Bermuda in the Sixties, she found herself in some demand as she just happened to be the first qualified social worker on the island!
Having undertaken community family work, a guardian ‘ad litem’ role in adoption and trained and worked in marital counselling, she was asked to develop a social work service for the general hospital there. Mary became very aware of the difficulties in providing acute brain injury care on the island and people were transferred to hospitals in the UK and USA, with resulting problems for relatives and friends.
Having returned to the UK in 1979, Mary was able to use her overseas experience to set up a department of social work at St Andrew’s Hospital, Northampton. At the same time, the new Kemsley Unit at the hospital was establishing rehabilitation programmes for people recovering from severe brain injury. Well aware of the problems also for relatives, partners and friends, Mary was very pleased to attend the very first meeting of National Headway, in Birmingham, later the same year.
Knowledge of the problems for the individual, and the development of social work support for them and their relatives during rehabilitation, were an important aspect of Mary’s career. Mary also worked in other treatment areas of the hospital and developed a social work team. She chaired the hospital’s ethics group and was joint chair of the service users’ group but was also fortunate; she felt, in being able to continue to provide social work to the brain injury unit.
Since retirement Mary still co-facilitates the monthly Relatives Support Group at the Kemsley Unit with Dr Keith Jenkins the present Chair of Headway East Northants and was consequently delighted, in 2009, to be invited to become a Trustee of Headway East Northants.
Les Hurwood, Trustee
An engineer by trade, and having worked in various London schools, Les retired in early 2016 following an accident the previous year, which resulted in a brain injury.
After recuperation, Les began volunteering here at the centre in Irthlingborough in the woodwork room and still does to this day, having built up a friendly and popular weekly woodwork group session. Such was his success and popularity as a volunteer, that Les was asked to join the Board of Trustees for Headway East Northants, a role he was delighted to accept.
Les’s strong engineering background, volunteering experience, popularity and personal story of brain injury survival all combine to offer an invaluable contribution to both the Board of Trustees, and the Centre itself.
Les says: “I was an engineer by trade and used to work in various schools in London, commuting each day. Later in my career, I joined a local engineering firm. I have always loved working with my hands – from engineering, to woodwork – you name it. Then, back in October 2015, I was involved in an accident. Following an MRI scan, it emerged that I’d acquired a brain injury. However it took around two months for physical signs of the injury to begin to show. I felt shaken by the whole experience, and in February the following year, I made the decision to retire. I later spotted an advert in the local paper for volunteers at the Headway East Northants centre in Irthlingborough and thought “Why not?” So I joined the team as a volunteer (and then later, as a trustee). Why do I do it? It’s simple – I love it! To see the smiles on clients’ faces when they’ve achieved or made something, and to see everyone here so happy – it just makes everything worthwhile.”
Tim Samples, Trustee and Client of Headway East Northants
Tim is a client of Headway East Northants and has recently accepted an invitation to join the Board of Trustees. He also volunteers at our centre, supporting fellow volunteer Wilson at our Thursday Peer Support Group sessions.
Tim began attending our centre as a client following diagnosis of benign brain tumours which in turn brought about severe epilepsy, so Tim knows first hand the realities of managing acquired brain injury and the challenges that this can present to an individual and a family. Tim is a valuable asset to our board, with very close links to our client base, and is able to provide the board with direct client feedback, ideas and suggestions.
Wilson Paterson, Trustee and Peer Support Group volunteer
Wilson has become a member of the Board of Trustees, having led our weekly Peer Support Group each Thursday (in which client and fellow trustee, Tim Samples, now also volunteers). Wilson has a strong professional background and a loved one with ABI and therefore makes a valuable contribution to our board of trustees.