Headway Cambridgeshire client nominated for national award


One of Headway Cambridgeshire’s clients, Joanne Davies, is a finalist for a national award – Achiever of the Year in the Headway Annual Awards.


Jo Davis lives in Wisbech, an isolated Fenland town with limited public services and little contact with affluent Cambridgeshire. She has been one of Headway Cambridgeshire’s community clients for many years, following a road traffic accident. Jo sustained severe physical injury and experiences a lot of pain. With limited mobility, she walks with a stick and easily loses her balance with dizzy spells. Prior to her accident, she was a high-flying PA in a media company. She is married and has a teenage daughter.

Jo reports frustration at no longer being able to exercise her previous excellent executive skills, and has difficulty with planning, time-management and managing her limited energies. Persistent fatigue, after bouts of enthusiastic activities, result in days spent in bed, with severe headaches and depression. Jo has recently received a diagnosis of impaired peripheral vision and is threatened with losing her driving license, which is inducing anger, anxiety and grief.

Jo came to the new Headway Cambridgeshire rehabilitation course, “Let’s Get Started”, identifying a need to ‘get a life’ and find a more meaningful purpose in life, having focused on raising her daughter, who had been a toddler when Jo experienced her brain injury trauma. Jo reported having always looked after everyone else and now wanted to do something for her-self, and prepare for the departure of her fledging daughter.

Despite all her impairments and life challenges, Jo never missed a week of the course and returned her home-work diligently and with such pride of accomplishment. One of Jo’s personal goals set at the beginning of the course was to develop a hobby that would engage her with the outside world.

Jo has taught herself to make jewellery, and began developing a mini-social enterprise, displaying her work in the classroom and at community events. Jo is also keen to exercise her previous excellent PA skills and offered to type up the group’s learning notes each week, which clearly gave her a sense of contribution to the greater good, while reminding herself of her residual, if reduced, executive abilities.

Jo has become the course student spokesperson and has offered to co-ordinate a Headway Friendship group in Wisbech to build a bridge of support in between weekly course meetings. Jo claims that her tutor had changed her life. In truth, she has transformed herself, a combination of expert learning opportunity and sheer determined and noble effort.

Jo’s achievements so far since this year:

  • Jo is launching her jewellery making as a mini-social enterprise, establishing displays at local outlets.
  • Jo has bravely agreed to participate in a Headway Cambridgeshire research programme into the impact BI has on the children of people with BI. This involves her daughter, aged 12 being interviewed by an ARU Research Psychologist.
  • Jo launched a Headway Friendship Group in Wisbech during the summer to create peer-support after their Headway Cambridgeshire’s rehabilitation course ended.

David Lynch, Headway Cambridgeshire’s Training & Development Manager said:

“I would like to commend Jo on her achievements, after just 11 weekly course sessions, and with the help of her learning peers. Jo is testament to what is possible, a decade after traumatic brain injury.”

Jo is among an impressive group of finalists from across the country whose commitment is truly inspiring. The winner of Achiever of the Year and winners of the other award categories will be announced at the Headway Annual Awards this Friday( 5 December 2014) at the Dorchester Hotel in London.

Staff and clients at Headway Cambridgeshire wish all the finalists the best of luck at the awards ceremony and we all hope that Jo is recognised as Achiever of the Year.


To read more information, click here.

Local charity 'Improving life after brain injury'

Headway Cambridgeshire