Why we exist
Headway Somerset exists to support individuals with acquired brain injury (ABI) and their families.
Acquired brain injury (ABI) includes trauma such as a blow to the head from assault or accident, strokes, haemorrhage, aneurysms, tumour, meningitis/encephalitis and oxygen deprivation.)
in Somerset every year about 3000 people have a hospital admission due to ABI.
Every year an estimated one million people attend Accident & Emergency Departments in the UK following a head injury. It is estimated that around 500,000 people of working age are living with long term disabilities as a result of ABI.
Headway Somerset was founded 30 years ago by the parents of a young woman following her brain injury in an accident.
An acquired brain injury can happen to anyone and happen at any time. When it does Headway Somerset is here to help.
From hospital admission, through to discharge home and at every stage of your recovery Headway Somerset is with you to offer:
- Practical advice
- A listening ear and time to talk
- Specialist services to aid your recovery – including Rehabilitation Centres, Community Outreach as well as Family and Carer Support and Making Headway, our Volunteer Buddy project to help you link with your community and your interests.
Our Centres are structured to offer safe and supportive environments for survivors of brain injury to re-learn skills that may have been affected after injury and to interact with members of staff and other clients who have a greater understanding of a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours. For many clients it can be a frustrating time when people don’t see their hidden disability and so do not understand why they do certain things. Individuals can work towards their outcomes and future goals in the following areas:
- Cognitive rehabilitation – developing memory, executive skills, awareness, reading and writing, strategy development and implementation
- Independent living skills – Computer based skills, cooking skills, money management and budgeting and managing personal affairs
- Improving self-esteem and confidence – confidence building in social situations is a key part of everyone’s rehabilitation
- Increasing independence and reducing social isolation
- Psychological and physical wellbeing – peer support, emotional support, gentle exercise
Each day in the centres is different, to meet the diverse needs of our clients. It may not always be immediately apparent why the activities clients are participating in are being delivered and what the benefits are from them. Most of our activities require clients to utilise and devlop their executive skills; including concentration, memory, information processing, forward planning, and understanding commands or instructions; physical skills such as co-ordination are required for others; and throughout virtually all activities, social skills are developed, including recognising other people’s needs, taking turns, listening and making yourself understood. These are all skills we take for granted but can be lost after brain injury.
Centres operate between 10:30 – 2:30 on various days and are located in Bridgwater, Yeovil, Henton (nr.Wells) and Taunton.
We welcome referrals from individuals aged 18 and over with a brain injury but also from relatives, advocates, legal guardians, GPs, Care or Case Managers who have permission from the individual.
Please see our make a referral section for more details call us on 01823 618519or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The aim of our outreach sessions is to support individuals with ABI with their personal development, manage behaviour, reduce social isolation and assist them to retain as much of their independence as possible.
Sessions are tailored to individuals’ goals and outcomes and can include (but is not limited to):
- Identify and support implementation of strategies to increase independence, e.g prompts to assist with memory problems / planning
- Support arranging and accessing medical / therapeutic appointments
- Support planning and completing shopping trips
- Support around finances and budgeting
- Support around daily routine and structure, planning meals, necessary tasks, rest breaks
- Support with daily correspondence & paperwork
- Reducing isolation
The number of outreach hours are agreed ahead of service commencement with clients, family members, carers, funders and Headway Somerset staff. Support hours are usually delivered Monday – Friday between 9am-5pm (we can provide specific quotes for services / one offs required outside of these times on a case to case basis). The length of sessions will be determined by a client’s capabilities and will consider things such as fatigue. Costs are determined by the complexity of support required.
If you would like to have a discussion about further information, please contact the office or if you would like to make a referral please fill out our referral form.
Making Headway is a new service we are developing, to support those directly affected by ABI who want to access activities of their choice in their communities.
Volunteers in this project will be ‘buddies’, supporting their befriended user. You will help them to rebuild confidence, develop a new independence, and encourage them to make connections through following their own interests.
This may be everyday things, such as going out for coffee; engaging with a hobby, activity or social group; using their lived experience to provide support, training or advocacy for others affected by ABI.
You will receive training and ongoing support, the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge for yourself, as well as having the satisfaction of seeing your buddy achieve their goals.
We are looking for volunteers from all backgrounds and across Somerset who are able to offer time and the commitment to make a difference in someone’s life.
for an informal chat and more information please contact Tricia Roche our Making Headway Coordinator
Family And Carer Support
Family and carer support
An acquired brain injury doesn’t just affect an individual; it can profoundly change relationships and the lives of entire families. Depending upon the severity of your relative’s injury and its effects, you may have to make many changes to the way you live and in some cases this means becoming a full-time or part-time carer.
How can Headway Somerset Help?
- Telephone line 01823 618519 is staffed Monday to Thursday 10.00 – 4.00 to answer enquiries and offer support and information
- Our Hospital Liaison Service staff will often be the first people from Headway that you meet while your relative is in hospital. They have a vital role in supporting you, helping with advice and information, helping you navigate some of the services and systems and being a listening ear when you need that most email@example.com
The Relatives Support Group is run by the Hospital Liaison Service and is an opportunity to share your experiences. Often the best source of support is other people in a similar situation. The group provides a safe space to share experiences and be supported along with occasional expert speakers. For more information on the location, dates and time of the group please contact our main office number 01823 618519
*In view of Covid-19 restrictions, there are no groups currently being held. If you would be interested in participating in a Zoom group from 2:00-3:00pm on Monday 20th July, email:
and a link will be sent so that you can join the meeting.
Other Sources of Support
Somerset Carers Service Somerset Carers
Headway UK Emergency Fund email firstname.lastname@example.org 02086408413
Financial support for families in the very early days following an accident or illness to cover immediate expenses.
With 30 years of experience and our extensive expertise and staff skill set we have various training options available.
Brain injury Training can be provided for families, carers and providers. It can be delivered 1:1 or group based.
Each request is handled individually to ensure the appropriate level, content and time is delivered.
For further information and / or a quote please contact the office to discuss your needs
Headway Somerset provides a number of opportunities for social support whether within our Rehabilitation Centres, attending and helping out at one of our fundraising events for example the annual Dragon Boat Race or as a member of our Social Club.
During the current Covid-19 situation our social activities are on hold and we are using this as an opportunity to review what we do and obtain feedback from our clients and members about how they would like these activities to run in the future.
Watch this space for developments!
April 2020 – we are about to launch ‘Making Headway’ which will recruit, train and provide volunteer Buddys to link with people with ABI and help them to stay connected to their interests, hobbies and to their community
If you would like to know more about Making Headway please call 01823 618519
At Headway Somerset we recognise that the sooner we can offer support and information to you and your family following your acquired brain injury the better. We understand how bewildering and frightening it can be in the early stages following illness or surgery, especially for relatives. With this in mind we have two Hospital Liaison Workers who visit Yeovil District Hospital, Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton and SNRC (Somerset Neurological Rehabilitation Centre) based at Dene Barton Community Hospital, Cotford St. Luke.
Information about the Hospital Liaison Service is available on the key wards at each of the hospitals and you are welcome to make contact directly with the team (details below) or to ask ward staff to make contact on your behalf (Occupational, Physio and Speech and Language Therapists are the best points of contact).
How can we help?
- give you some idea what to expect in the first weeks and months
- provide/ signpost you to Headway UK fact sheets and booklets (Headway UK publications and website headway.org.uk offer a comprehensive range of advice and information)
- advise you about help you might be able to get from your local authority or health services
- signpost you to community organisations who can help
- put you in touch with advice on benefits and finances
- help you explain what’s happened to your children, wider family and friends
Or, you might just need someone to sit down with who will listen to your experience, fears and concerns
The Headway Somerset Hospital Liaison Team also regularly facilitate a series of educational workshops about Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) at SNRC. These workshops are open to SNRC patients and their families.
Support for Families
The sudden change in circumstances that families have to cope with following ABI can be traumatic.
We recognise the importance of peer support for relatives and our monthly Relatives Group is a great opportunity to meet others, gain information about acquired brain injury, find out strategies which may help you cope and gain support.
Wendy Copeman (normal working days Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 9:00am – 3:30pm) Mobile: 07514 753384
Hospital Liaison Click here for our downloadable leaflet all about this service
Luke's Story On 3rd February 2005 my life changed. I was driving to Uni when I was involved in a head on collision with another vehicle. I have no memory of the event side from a brief recollection of lying in the road (apparently after being cut out of the car). I...