The 1970s had seen dramatic advances in neurosurgery, keeping alive people who would previously have died from their serious head injuries. Sadly, these advances were not matched by parallel funding of expert rehabilitation and community-based care services, with the result that head-injured people were being discharged into the care of unprepared families or despatched to totally inappropriate institutions.
In 1979, Sir Neville Butterworth placed an advert in a national newspaper seeking holiday accommodation for his brain-injured son. Dinah and Barry Minton, themselves carers, responded and set out with Sir Neville to find any support networks that already existed.
Around the same time, two social workers, Philip Lockhart in Birmingham and Reg Talbott in Nottingham, also contacted Sir Neville. The five agreed to call a meeting for all those involved in the care of brain-injured people. A total of 23 carers and professionals attended a meeting on 23 October 1979 and Headway was born.
Headway (National Head Injuries Association) was registered as a charity in March 1980 and a management committee was formed the following year.
And yet the charity still holds true to the ethos on which is was founded: Together, we are stronger and by working together, we can do more to improve life after brain injury.