Who we are and what we offer

About Us

Do you need more information? Read on to find out more!

Headway Darlington & District is an independent charity based in Darlington but working with adults with traumatic and acquired brain injury across Darlington, the Dales, Tees Valley and North Yorkshire.

We offer support, advice and education survivors, family, friends and carers in our local area. There are many different causes of brain injury and its effects are complex and wide ranging. We try to support each individual’s circumstances, needs and aspirations with our range of sessions.

We believe that every one of our members has something to contribute to both Headway Darlington & District and their own wider community. We have craft projects, games and group sessions to help every member utilise their skills. We welcome survivors family too as members to help understand and promote awareness and understanding of brain injury.

We also provide information and are planning to offer education to other interested groups and  training to professionals and businesses.

How are we funded?

As an independent charity, Headway Darlington & District is responsible for raising all the money it needs to rent premises, run services and develop new initiatives like our plans for paid staff to further support our members and their families. We are planning to raise £50k over the next year through community fundraising, corporate sponsorship and grants.

Our Members

Our Volunteers

Our Supporters

Our Board

Can You Help?

Our Mission

Is to promote understanding of all aspects of brain injury for both individuals and the wider community via support, advice and educational services.

Our Vision

By providing the support, advice and education to our brain injury survivors we hope to improve the outcomes for the individual, the family and the wider society affected by the life changing impact of brain injury. 

Board and trustees

Our board is made up of trustees and committee members.  We are a strong team, passionate about delivering services to address the urgent need and gaps in provision for brain injury survivors.

Gary Emerson - Chair

Gary took early retirement in 2019 as CEO of Darlington Mind and has worked in senior roles within the voluntary sector for over 30 years.

He is Vice-Chair of the Citizens Advice Bureaux in Stockton and a Trustee at Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind as well as a Lay Rep for NHS England North East.

He became Chair of Headway Darlington in 2021.  Gary also enjoy cooking and spending time with friends and family.

Joan Mitchie - Vice Chair

Joan retired from work in 2009 and has three children and each of them have two children and has  a great grandson and a great granddaughter who is due soon.  Joan worked in the care sector in management and at one time owned, with her late husband, a care home in Neasham.

Joan came to Headway Darlington and District just prior to the first lock down in 2020 to help with recruiting volunteers and in July 2021, she took on the role of Volunteer Co-ordinator.  Joan is also now Vice Chair of the charity.

Jan Guinan - Treasurer

Jan was born in Dumfries and has two grown up children and four (almost grown up) grandchildren. She worked in Local Government for over 40 years and moved to the North East in 2000.  Her last work role was as a VAT Accountant at Middlesbrough Council until she retired in 2020.

Jan decided she needed to get back out there, but on a voluntary basis and chose to volunteer for Headway Darlington & District.  She is now the Treasurer and helps with a variety of administration and finance related issues within the charity.

Alastair Elliot

Alastair is a personal injury lawyer and joined the Headway D&D Committee in 2017. Having worked with brain-injured clients for many years, he appreciates the needs of survivors and their families and does all he can to support the development of our services to meet those needs. 

When not at work, he likes nothing more than to be out of doors enjoying all that the British weather has to offer. 

Elaine Vance

Elaine is a retired Nurse Practitioner with years of experience nursing at a senior level and developing NHS services.

She runs the weekly games session and supports members within the community to overcome obstacles preventing them from moving forward.

Elaine lives in Darlington and loves walking and cooking, which is one of her passions. 

Hannah Fitzpatrick

Hannah is a serious injury solicitor and works with many cases where her clients have sustained serious brain injury. 

Hannah will be taking on the role of company secretary and is looking forward to learning more about life after brain injury. 

Get In Touch

Complete the contact form to send us a message. We will respond as soon as we can. 

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Help us to support those with devastating brain injuries.