At the time of its conception in 1977, Headway Bristol was only the third group of its type in the country providing support to brain injured people.

As with other groups, Headway Bristol was formed by relatives of people with traumatic brain injuries who recognised the need to share experience and knowledge.  The Bristol group, led by Rita Rees MBE, was encouraged and supported by professionals at Frenchay Hospital, who also helped them secure use of a room at the hospital for meetings.

Whilst initially the main aim of the Charity was to provide support to relatives through the traumatic period of intensive care and hospitalisation, the focus widened over time to take in the ongoing needs of patients once their rehabilitation services ended, and so in 1988 Headway Bristol began running a Day Centre service in a small chalet bungalow provided by Frenchay Trust.

Less than five years later Frenchay Trust provided a ‘new’ temporary facility in a recently vacated ward because demand for the service had outgrown the little bungalow.   Headway Bristol then set to work raising the £250,000 necessary for a purpose built facility.

Headway Centre opened for business in January 1996.  The building, ideally situated alongside the Head Injury Therapy Unit at Frenchay Hospital, has purpose built facilities such as a fully equipped kitchen, a large airy day room, a computer room, and an arts and crafts room; all of which are wheelchair accessible.    The larger building enables Headway Bristol to run more than one group activity at a time.

The services Headway Bristol offers to brain injured people, their carers and other professionals, continue to expand to this day.  As the services grow, so the staff and volunteer force required to deliver those services grows.  An extension to Headway Centre was opened in 2003 that now accommodates the Charity’s administrative team.  The extension released space in the main building that has, due to generous donations from loyal supporters, been converted into a calm and welcoming library and resources area.


Headway Bristol needs to raise over £100,000 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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Set up a regular donation using our regular giving form.

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