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Written on 22nd December 2021 by Kim Milan

Headway Thames Valley is a local charity working tirelessly to improve life after brain injury. It provides support, services and information to brain injury survivors, their families and carers as well as campaigning to reduce the incidence of brain injury in the Thames Valley.

A brain injury can happen in seconds but the effects can last a lifetime. Headway Thames Valley offers a number of fantastic services to those living with a brain injury.

The charity runs an Activity Centre in Henley, which operates Monday – Thursday, and offers things like Music Therapy, Art Therapy, Tai Chi, exercise classes, social and cognitive groups. This service is usually funded by local authorities and clients from all over Berkshire and South Oxfordshire attend.

The charity offers a neuro rehabilitation service which offers up to 12 sessions with an experienced physiotherapist,  a Speech and Language Therapist and a Psychologist. Prices range from £30 - £60 per session. Sessions take place in Henley or at the client’s home and are available for family members to attend, where appropriate.

The Living with Brain Injury Course is an eight week course that HTV run 3 or 4 times a year at various locations in Berkshire and South Oxfordshire. The course aims to improve clients’ understanding of Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), awareness, acceptance and coping skills. It’s also a great chance for them to meet others with ABI. The course is run by a Psychologist from the Community Based Neuro Rehabilitation Team and HTV’s Occupational Therapist.

HTV also run Support Groups every 5/6 weeks around Berkshire. These offer Peer support and are facilitated by HTV’s Occupational Therapist.

1:1 initial advice and counselling is facilitated by HTV’s  Occupational Therapist and/or Assistant Psychologist where they meet with clients and families to discuss ABI.

Other than the Activity centre, all services can be offered online or face to face and many are free to attend. Adapting quickly to the pandemic, Headway Thames Valley switched to online service provision, to ensure their clients did not feel isolated and could remain engaged and motivated and continue with their rehabilitation efforts.

Boyes Turner’s Personal Injury team have helped many clients who have sustained a brain injury across the Thames Valley and where appropriate have signposted those clients to Headway Thames Valley to access their amazing services.

Dennis is one of those people. Dennis sustained a severe traumatic brain injury when he was knocked down by a speeding car as he crossed the road near his home in Reading in October 2017. Dennis’s wife Amanda approached us shortly afterwards and whilst he was still in hospital. In addition to the brain injury, Dennis also sustained multiple fractures to his face and left ankle. He was airlifted to the John Radcliffe Hospital where he spent several weeks in Intensive Care, followed by several months in the Royal Berkshire Hospital and finally 2 months in a neuro rehabilitation unit in Salisbury.

Whilst Dennis made great improvements, his brain injury left him with ongoing problems. Difficulties with his memory and in particular his vision required almost constant care from Amanda. Always a great reader, Dennis now found this extremely difficult. He also struggled to use a mobile phone and the remote control for the TV. A lack of feeling in his left arm and hand made it difficult to cut up his food and get dressed on his own.

In 2019 we referred Dennis to Headway Thames Valley and he started attending the Activity Centre in Henley one day per week. He enjoyed meeting other clients and engaging in the activities. When the pandemic struck, HTV quickly moved to provide remote services. Dennis and Amanda took part in online video calls and groups, with Dennis particularly enjoying the football discussion groups and quizzes. Amanda benefitted from meeting the friends Dennis had made at HTV.

All of this helped Dennis maintain a regular routine and give him structure to his day and since he has been attending, Amanda has noticed improvement in Dennis’ mobility, co-ordination and memory.  Since coming out of lockdown, Dennis has returned to the Activity Centre, participating in activities such as upcycling and Tai Chi.

Amanda says “Headway Thames Valley have helped us 100%. Headway Thames Valley is like a family to Dennis now”

Jamie Higgins, Manager at Headway Thames Valley says “Brain injury is something that not many people know much about until it happens to them or someone they know. A lot of the work we do at Headway Thames Valley is about educating families on the common effects of brain injury and our take on recovery; this gives our clients the foundations to make the best recovery possible.

“One of the great things about the work we do is that no one is ever discharged from our services – we work with people for as long as they need us to. This approach allows us to see people continue to recover for years and years, often indefinitely.”                                                  

If you would like to learn more about Headway Thames Valley, or would be interested in supporting them, visit their website at

If you or a member of your family have severe disability as a result of someone else’s negligence, and you would like to find out more about making a claim, you can talk to one of our solicitors, free and confidentially, by contacting us here.