Our Founder Rita Rees, MBE

We are very sad to announce in our 40th year, the passing of our founder, Rita Rees MBE, on Friday 29th September, 2017. Rita passed away at Begbrook House Care Home in Frenchay, Bristol. She was 86.

Rita formed Headway Bristol in 1977 on a site at Frenchay Hospital, after her daughter Jane suffered a traumatic brain injury. Rita led a group of people who were also relatives of those with traumatic brain injuries, who recognised the need to share experience and knowledge.

From humble beginnings in a room at the hospital, to the fantastic facilities we currently have at the Frenchay Beckspool Building, we are proud to carry on Rita’s dream and vision.  Our day centre, outreach and carers and support services continue to thrive and over the years Headway Bristol have gone on to support thousands of individuals and families since its inception.  None of this would have happened without Rita.

Whilst initially the main aim of Headway Bristol was to provide support to relatives through the traumatic period of intensive care and hospitalisation, the focus has widened over time to take in the ongoing needs of patients once their rehabilitation services ended. The services Headway Bristol offers to brain injured people, their carers and families, continues to expand to this day.

“There are few people who have done so much, for the benefit of so many, as Rita Rees. She was passionate in her commitment to support those who, like herself, had been faced with the life-changing impact of brain injury. Rita was also a tour de force in battling at national level for greater understanding and recognition of brain injury. Headway Bristol would not be the organisation that it is today without her initial foresight followed by her tireless support  over the years. We will both miss and fondly remember her in equal measure”

Rita is survived by her daughter Jane Rees and her memory will live on forever in the hearts of everyone at Headway Bristol. Rita’s funeral will take place at Westerleigh Crematorium in Bristol on Wednesday, 25th October at 3.30pm, in the Waterside Chapel. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Headway Bristol.

Welcome to Headway Bristol

We are a local charity with 40 years experience in helping survivors of brain injury live as independently as possible.

We provide social and cognitive rehabilitation for adults with brain injury and support and respite for their families through the services offered at our centres and through one to one outreach – available across Bristol, North and North East Somerset, and South Gloucestershire. We individually tailor programmes that are designed to maximise quality of life, independence and self esteem.

We promote an understanding of all aspects of brain injury, focusing not just on the impact on the individual but also on their families and others who care for them. We provide information, support and services for these people too, including assistance to source and access other much needed services.

We hope that you find the information on our website helpful, but if you would like any more information or have any questions, please give us a call on 0117 414 3222, or email us on

Our Location

Headway Bristol is based at:

Frenchay Beckspool Building (Previously known as the Burden Centre)
Frenchay Park Road
BS16 1LE

Our new building, which we moved into in early 2015, features more spacious and accessible facilities with brand new furniture. We have our own dedicated Library, Information Resources & Meeting Room, a dedicated Art Room and Support Room, as well as a brand new and fully customised rehabilitation kitchen that will enable our service users to develop their cooking skills and gain confidence in the kitchen. There is also a large, open garden for our service users to enjoy.

RECRUITING NOW!  Visit our Vacancies Page!

  • Part-Time Support Outreach Workers (paid)
  • Volunteer Trustees – including two key roles of Chair and Treasurer
  • Volunteer Fundraisers, Activity Assistants and Assistant Support Workers, Drivers & More!

Click here for full details of the above openings

Fundraising News – Click here to find out about our latest events and fundraising news.

Newsletters – Click here to download our latest newsletter.


Headway Helpline

Freephone: 0808 800 2244 for confidential nurse-led advice and support on the effects of brain injury. Lines open Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.



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Headway Bristol needs to raise over £200,000 every year in order to maintain and develop its services. See Fundraising section for more information, or make a donation in one of the following ways.

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