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Joining Headway

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I'd like to pick your brains (:-D) on whether or not to join Headway because I think some of you are members and so know about them.

I emailed them a while ago and they eventually got back to me and said they would send me some information. I had told them I'd had a SAH but most of what they sent was specifically about brain injuries caused by accidents such as car crashes. There was nothing about SAH's at all and some of the print outs I received were exactly the same as the leaflets also enclosed.

It has left me feeling very unsure whether to join. I am on statutory sick pay, money is tight and £15 isn't an insignificant amount sadly :frown:

So, Headway members, what do you get out of your membership and do they have much in the way of info and support specifically for SAH? :confused:

Thanks :-D

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Hi Fiona,

I've had the same problem - there isn't a local Headway group (30 miles north, 80 miles west!!). I tried a local Different Strokes Group (for younger stroke victims) but most of them are a lot older. I know age doesn't matter in these things but I had hoped to meet people my age as sharing stuff on an age/family age helps.

Look forward to hearing how things work out for you at headway. Maybe more groups need to be set up in a distance people can easily get to? I would go to that! (Or even help set one up if I could be of some use...)

Michelle x

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Yes, I am a member at Headway and I'll gladly share with you my experience there.

Headway is a national charity for adults with brain injuries, so yes, it includes people who have suffered car accidents, sporting accidents, strokes etc.

However, those of us who have suffered brain injuries do share common threads. At Headway, we were all born fit and healthy but something happened to us in adulthood, be it ill health or an accident. As a result, life is different and it has required an adjustment. We all suffer mental fatigue and have had low moments.

I suffered depression in December 2010 (my SAH was November 09) and I developed an awful sense that my life as I knew it had come to an end. I contacted Headway, spoke with an organiser and was invited to one of their sessions.

It was nothing spectacular. Just people sitting around, playing games, drinking tea and eating biscuits. All pretty benign stuff. I started chatting to people and have gradually made friends; one of whom I will be meeting outside of Headway next week.

My Headway group arranges counselling sessions once a month with a consultant neuro psychologist and they have helped me enormously.

My Headway group also arranges walking groups, a cinema club and trips to football and rugby matches. I have not been on these yet. I do voluntary work three days per week and so I cannot do too much else, otherwise I get very tired.

I am unsure what you mean regarding the £15; is this a subscription? I have not paid any money to Headway and as far as I was concerned it was a free service.

In terms of specific support and information re SAH; I would say BTG targets this more than Headway. Headway is a broader community.

I do not feel that I must only talk to other SAH survivors to learn how to cope with dealing with my life. Sadly the SAH community is very small because not many of us survive a SAH, which is a sobering thought.

I joined Headway over a year after my SAH. Your SAH was quite recent if I recall. I am unsure if I could have coped with meeting a community group very soon after my SAH. That is not to say that you cannot do so, of course. You can take a third party to Headway, if this makes it easier for you.

For my part, Headway suits me, but it may not be for everyone. I am grateful for the friends that I have made there, and meeting new people to connect with is always a good thing.

Lynne xx

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Fiona I have to say i felt much the same as you in the ealry days, as far as I was concerned i hadn't had a brain injury & thought there would be nothing they could do for me. I put off the intial visit at least 4 times thinkning I didn't need any help anyway & could do it on my own (well with BTG as well) but soon realised I couldn't manage on my own & needed to MEET people who understood.

My initial meet (they call it first contact) was with a group of mentors (other brain injury survivors) & a headway worker. We went though the effects of brain injjury & althought they were common symptoms I was amazed that all brain injury survivors have identtical problems & feelings. suddenly I was no longer alone & although the mentors had differing injuries to mine (one a brain tumour, one a stroke, one a car accident) we were all the same in how we felt - a true revelation to me. They ahd a box of tissues ready & the tears flowed.

I realise now I had to be ready to accept the help they were offering & that did take time to realise they could help & that I needed that help. I had an assessment just before Xmas with a trained counsellor to then I see which modules would help me best & then I was offered a range of course to do from understanding brain injury to elationships & behaviour/mood management.

I have certainly enjoyed all the courses I've done so far, understanding acquired brain injury has been fascinating & truly helpful in accepting & understanding why my brain is like it is now. there is a socail drop in on a monday which is coffee & playing games & some chat but purely relaxed & enjoyable. They do an it course for those wanting to learn to use a pc or brush up on skills they may ahve lost, there will be a cookery course for those who struggle wiht that.

I know that when I go in there & say i'm having a bad day no further explanation is needed cos they've all been there! It's great to share so much wihtouth saying anyhting

As for costs we pay £2.00 per session for coffee/tea as a small contribution to running costs but I was told that if we had to pay full costs for a session it would be more like £20-£30 an hour! headway is a charity that used to rely on the government for some funding but this has now been cut & personal funding through social services is supposed to take it's place. My local socail services didn't want to know about me cos I could wash & dress myself so I don't figure on their radar but Headway is still free for me.

During Brain Injury awareness week we have a bbq arranged & a trip to Marwell zoo which you obviously have to pay for but other than that we only pay the £2.00 per session

Hope that helps

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Thanks ladies:-D

Lynne, the annual membership cost listed on the website. The local group has put me on their mailing list so I have already had some details of day trips etc but I won't get the magazines, survivors card etc.

I don't have a problem with the fact I've had a brain injury I don't think and I have previous experience of Headway in a round about way as part of my counselling training but I was disappointed that when I asked for specific written information about SAH they sent me information that was wasn't really relevant.

I think you are all right that meeting up with others that understand doesn't mean they have to have had an SAH too. I know that I am no quite ready to put myself in a group situation just yet but I am pretty sure that Sheffield Headway meets in the same building as the Brain Injury team I'm seeing are based so I am planning to ask them about Headway next time I go.

I hope this makes some sort of sense! I am feeling a bit scrambled today :roll:

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Fiona, Im not a member but know that they're very good, helped my young cousin who had a bad accident.

I do have their card which people have talked about jut tell you that you've had a brain injury very helpfull in shops I find...

I'd say that all head injury such as ours or by accident are the same our lives have been turned upside down....

so my advice would be go for it, not sure about £15 I thought it was a charity organization maybe tho they ask for a donation I dont know but before you think NO I'd find that out....

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I have had help from Headway, I phoned them and they sent me a brain injury card to carry, and then somebody came to my house twice to see me and talk, which helped me enormously. I was offered group meetings, but they were a bit too far away for me to get to, so they said I can always phone and somebody will visit.

I didn't know anything about joining and have never paid anything, I may now join and pay the subscription because they definitely helped me.


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Richard attends Headway every Friday. He has been going since January and says he doesn't like it as it is full of people who are 'not all there' but fails to recognise that he is also one of these people. He pays £2 a week for drinks and toast. The day is split into three sessions with breaks between. Each session you choose an activity to do. Some of these are cooking, woodwork, gardening, crafts, painting, they have a wii and pool table, computers you can use, etc. I guess I tend to view it as an additional form of rehab for Richard. You have to remember that Richard has been quite seriously affected by his SAH. He is unable to use his left arm at all, has a very weak left leg so struggles with walking and has bad memory and concentration issues which affects his ability to want to join in with things, not wanting to talk to people. I think he generally misses his slots for activites and spends most of his day outside smoking. I personally think it does him good as we are having problems getting him to do anything at all so at least it is a day out and hopefully one day he will find something he wants to do there. We get fairly regular meetings with staff there as Richard also has a lot of input from other professionals, e.g. physio, ot, psychologist, social worker, etc, and our Headway in Shrewsbury also have a group of carers called ABICS so these are the carers we get in each day to look after Rich when I am at work.

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I do pay a £15 subscription to Headway but have never used any of their counselling services/ meets etc.For that money you receive quarterly magazines. They are not specific to SAHs but I find them really encouraging as they always remind me that there are people much worse than me.

You don't need to pay the subscription to get their services. The money just helps to keep them funded for another year. I agree BTG is much more SAH funded. I can only afford it cos back at work ft I wouldn't do it otherwise.

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Well I paid to join, I figured even if I don't use the meetings etc as part of my membership I can make my will for free and I really need to do that.

I am hoping the magazines will be interesting at least and figure I get my SAH specific info from BTG :-D

I might try the meetings and outings at a later date I suppose.

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