Impact of Our Service


Headway Cardiff and South East Wales supports people with acquired brain injury and their families with their emotional and social wellbeing. Our aim is for people to maximise their independence and minimise the negative impact of their injury on their health and wellbeing. Our approach is person centred. We identify what individuals feel have the most impact on them and what they would most like to change. We focus on the outcomes they would like, and recognise and support their strengths and assets, working with them to achieve these.

Research evidences(1) the benefit of the model of peer support in rehabilitation for individuals with acquired brain injury and their families that our Social and Activity Groups and Independence and Wellbeing Centre provide.

Impact of service

Our services are designed to counter these costs.
In February 2018, an online survey was conducted as part of an externally commissioned evaluation of Headway Cardiff and South East Wales Services. Service users were asked: ‘If support from Headway Cardiff and South East Wales had not been available to you, what do you think the consequences would have been for you?’
The findings demonstrate the significant pressures on individuals’ mental and physical health had they not accessed our service and evidences that alternative support was not available to them.

“It does not bare thinking about. I really don’t want to think of Headway not being there. I know I couldn’t cope”

Service User, Headway Cardiff & South East Wales

“I would have been lost and in the depths of despair not knowing or understanding what had happened to me and where and how to get help” 

Service User, Headway Cardiff & South East Wales

“I have lived back in the area for 2 years and have been struggling to get support from anyone. Without Headway’s support I don’t feel I would get any better both physically and emotionally. Brain injury issues are very specific and you need to speak to someone who understands them”

Service User, Headway Cardiff & South East Wales

“I really don’t like to think what might have happened! To be able to pick up the phone and ask for help and know that help would be given without question is definitely a shining light in the darkness”

Service User, Headway Cardiff & South East Wales

“I would have reached breaking point as felt very isolated and stressed and was finding it difficult to continue in my caring role”

Carer, Headway Cardiff & South East Wales

“I would have been struggling to find information and advice and my dad would be without vital social group support”

Family Member of Service User, Headway Cardiff & South East Wales

“I’ve been struggling to find my own way, with no specialist emotional and practical support for over two years, so I knew if I didn’t find the right help then my symptoms would spiral out of control and I would suffer unnecessarily, and struggle with daily life, and be unable to work or live independently, and be very unhappy and be missing out on so many wonderful things in life”

Service User, Headway Cardiff & South East Wales

“My wife would not have recovered as well as she has. We would have been lost without the invaluable support of Headway”

Family Member of Service User, Headway Cardiff & South East Wales

“My husband would not have applied for a PA, would not be able to socialise and would not have been able to develop a social network”

Family Member of Service User, Headway Cardiff & South East Wales

“I don’t want to think about it I was in a bad place before I contacted Headway. I don’t believe my marriage would have survived as I put a big strain on my wife”

Service User, Headway Cardiff & South East Wales

Policy and strategy context

Our approach and services supports the following national strategies:
• Advice Review 2013
• Tackling Poverty Strategy 2012-2016
• Fulfilled Lives – Supported Communities 2008-2018
• Building Resilient Communities – Taking forward the Tackling Poverty Action Plan 2015
• The Financial Inclusion Delivery Plan 2016
• Carers Strategy 2013-2016
• Social Services and Well-being Act 2014
• Together for Mental Health, 2012
• Together for Health: Neurological Conditions Delivery Plan, 2012
• Making Prudent Healthcare Happen, 2016

Numbers we engage with

Currently we have 1,011 active Service Users and 709 active Carers/family members recorded on our Customer Relations Management System.
On average we work with between 500 – 600 people affected by brain injury each year. In 2016 this included 176 new individuals, in 2017 we worked with 224 new individuals.


People with traumatic brain injury (TBI) described Social isolation as a common problem, due to physical, cognitive and behavioural changes. They become less socially active and experience a marked decrease in friends.(2)
18% of brain injury carers rate their quality of life as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’, 59% show signs of clinical depression with 21% in the severe or extremely severe range.(3)
The marital breakdown rate is 15% within the first 2 years post-injury.(4) 25% of relationships break down within an average of 4.1 years after a spouse’s injury. (5)
63% of the children experience emotional suffering, as a result of their parents ABI which is often underestimated by their parents. The quality of their parents’ relationship is key to this.(6)
Almost half of all male prisoners have sustained a traumatic brain injury. Three quarters (73%) of whom sustained their first injury before committing their first offence. 43% had been in prison on 5 or more occasions.(7)
The prevalence of ABI is 27% higher among homeless people. Of these, 90% indicated they had sustained their first traumatic brain injury before they were homeless.(8)

(1) Reference: Womba, R., Nijland, R.H.M., Ket, J.C.F., & Kwakkel, G. (2016). Evidence for peer support in rehabilitation for individuals with acquired brain injury: A systematic review. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 48 (10), 847-840.
(2) Salas, C.E., Casassus, M., Rowlands, L., Pimm, S., & Flanagan, D.A.J. (2016). “Relating through sameness: a qualitative study of friendship and social isolation in chronic traumatic brain injury. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 1-18.
(3) Sigurdardottir, S., Andelic, N., Roe, C., and Schanke, A.K. (2013). Depressive symptoms and psychological distress during the first five years after traumatic brain injury: Relationship with psychosocial stressors, fatigue and pain. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 45(8), 808-814.
(4) Arango-Lasprilla JC(1), Ketchum JM, Dezfulian T, Kreutzer JS, O’neil-Pirozzi TM, Hammond F, Jha A. (2008). Predictors of marital stability 2 years following traumatic brain injury.
(5) Kreutzer JS(1), Marwitz JH, Hsu N, Williams K, Riddick A. (2007) Marital stability after brain injury: an investigation and analysis.
(6) Redolfi, A., Bartolini, G., Gugliotta, M., Maietti, A., Pietrapiana, P., Sapienza, S., D’Amato, A., & Mazzuchi, A. (2017). When a parent suffers ABI: Investigation of emotional distress in children. Brain Injury. 1-11.
(7) Hughes, Nathan PhD; Williams, W. H. PhD; Chitsabesan, Prathiba MRCPsych; Walesby, Rebecca C. PhD; Mounce, Luke T. A. PhD; Clasby, Betony (2016). The Prevalence of Traumatic Brain Injury Among Young Offenders in Custody.
(8) Oddy, M., Moir, J.F., Fortescue, D., & Chadwick, S. (2012). The prevalence of traumatic brain injury in the homeless community in a UK city. Brain Injury, 26(9), 1058-1064.