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Chief Executive Officer Headway East London

Do you have the compassion, vision, and drive to take Headway East London into the future? Join this ambitious co-produced organisation as their next CEO.

  • Location: 238-240 Kingsland Road, London E2 8AX
  • Salary: £67,211 - £74,375
  • Closing date: 9 a.m. Wednesday 12th June

Who we are.

Headway East London is a unique, diverse and creative community of people living with brain injury and their families. Working across 13 London boroughs, the organisation offers specialist support and services including therapies, advocacy and family and community support.

We are a buzzing community where people connect, collaborate, and participate. We support our members (as we call our service users) to develop self-identities — friend, artist, dancer, singer, chef, domino player that are located in the present and future rather than the past.

Brain injury can affect anyone, and our members often experience multiple forms of discrimination because of the intersection between their disability and other parts of their identity including race, gender, sexuality or age. We work with marginalised groups that are disproportionally affected by the cost-of-living crisis and are often reliant on a complex and unfair benefits system.

At Headway East London, members can access the support they need whilst being recognised as individuals. Our volunteers, members, their families, and carers are the experts of brain injury. Together we work in partnership to achieve transformative change for survivors – to build a world in which people with brain injury are valued, respected and able to fulfil their potential.

Our work is guided by the principle of co-production. Projects aim to be co-produced in response to our members’ needs, desires, and ambitions. Through steering groups, catch-up groups and regular opportunities for conversation and feedback, members are actively involved in developing new ideas and helping to make decisions.

About the role.

This is an exciting leadership position in a unique organisation.

As the CEO, you will be responsible and accountable for the effective leadership and delivery of Headway East London’s strategic aims and operational plans, with a focus on financial growth and stability. You will be an effective ambassador for the organisation and its members.

Working closely with the Senior Management Team, you will ensure that the Board receives appropriate advice and guidance to fulfil its governance responsibilities.

You will have a wide range of skills and experience with a passion for social justice and a drive to create a fairer society for people with Acquired Brain Injury.

Above all, you must demonstrate a deep commitment to our values and lead in a collaborative way, in line with the principles of coproduction, which guide the organisation.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Rachel Davies | rachel@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07961 208037

Lucy Mavers | lucy@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07947 935068

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Rachel Davies

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Welcome from the members

Dear potential applicant,

We asked our members and volunteers to help us give you an idea of what Headway East London is like and what we are looking for in our next CEO.

Type of Person

We are looking for a people person, approachable, good at interacting with members. Someone patient and empathetic who wants to get involved. You should be driven and passionate, skilled at being visible and go out there and speak on behalf of members.

It should not be possible to tell that you are the CEO at first sight. A familiarity with neurodiversity and brain injury would be ideal and you should be committed to continued learning on the job. You should be happy to sit amongst us members, chat, listen and be open to all our suggestions of co-production. You’ll be surprised by what we can teach you. When you get two people with brain injury together, they won’t stop talking.

What we would like them to achieve

We’re not sure it’s appropriate to set out your achievements – that’s for you to bring to us with your skills.

However, you must remember when you think about this that we are a ‘family business’. You need to keep the family together, build on it, develop by listening to us. Treat Headway East London like a tree, develop its roots so the tree can flourish.

What Headway is like

It’s colossal. It’s a brilliant organisation. It’s very difficult talking to people who don’t understand brain-injury. Headway East London is a large community of people discovering the fullness of life after the shock of brain injury. It’s a place to come together to go through the journey together. It’s not easy, but Headway makes it easier, it’s relaxing, I switch off, and the stress comes off my shoulders.

The Headway community gives us all an opportunity to find a previously hidden creativity, giving our lives a purpose we thought was lost. It is an amazing magical place, a joint enterprise with staff, members and volunteers working together, looking forward not back. Life hasn’t ended after brain injury; it’s a new beginning. We are understood and not judged and encouraged on our new journey feeling warmth, security and understanding. Peaceful – not quiet? Home from home like a pair of warm slippers. We are a family.

We look forward to welcoming you into our community.

About Headway East London

Our mission

We empower our community of brain injury survivors and their families to imagine new possibilities – ones filled with creativity, embracing diversity and backed by specialist support.

Our vision

Brain injury survivors experience a world which is accessible to them, and where their contributions are valued and celebrated.

Our principles

  • Coproduction: Members are at the centre of everything we do – they are actively involved in designing new projects, developing new ideas and helping to make decisions at all levels.
  • Equity, diversity and inclusion: We are committed to valuing every person as an individual and ensuring that our members, staff and volunteers do not experience discrimination at Headway East London. We will continue to work hard and create space for these conversations with everyone involved in the organisation.
  • Sustainability: We want to be around for the long term, to support survivors of brain Injury now and in the future. To do this we will make sure our systems and processes are efficient and effective to support our work, and work hard to make sure our financial position remains positive. We care about broader sustainability too. That’s why we’re committed to cutting our carbon footprint, including through reducing our dependence on non-renewable energy sources.

“Headway is a place to come together and be with people that have been through something similar. Maybe not the same accident but have all had a TBI. We are going through that journey together. It’s not easy, but Headway makes it easier. I can’t wait for Thursdays to come. Other days, you feel like you’re different, at Headway its relaxing, the stress comes off my shoulders.”


Providing therapies, advocacy, family support and community support

We provide therapies, advocacy, family support and community support to work alongside our day service: a community venue where members can make the most of their abilities and interests. We believe that every one of our members has something to contribute to both Headway East London and the wider community. Our occupational projects include an art studio, writing projects and a professional kitchen where members cook each day for other members, volunteers, staff and visitors.

We also promote awareness and understanding of brain injury by providing information, acting as an educational resource for universities, offering training to professionals and businesses.

Through our Public Engagement programme, we partner with a wide range of organisations in the arts, health and education sectors to raise awareness and understanding of brain injury and to celebrate the creativity of our members through exhibitions, supper clubs and community events.

“There are no words that can really explain HEL, you have to come here to experience the magic. We’re all here because of something awful, but the cause of our TBI isn’t important. It’s about looking forward not looking back. There’s choice here, everyone knows what’s going on each day but there’s freedom to do what you want to do.”



Co-production with our members (as we call our service users) underpins everything we do, and we prioritise our members leading by lived experience in everything from how we recruit staff and deliver training to the meals we cook. Responsibility for the progress and maintenance of the community is shared amongst all of us, according to what each person is able to offer. Everyone is supported to make the most of their talents and expertise.

We work closely with our members through Steering Groups for specific projects; for example, last year we co-produced a critically acclaimed exhibition at the Barbican called ‘differently various‘ and conference centring lived experience of brain injury.

“Volunteering at Headway East London is a delightful experience. I remember stepping into the day centre for the first time and feeling a wonderful energy – it’s friendly, uplifting, inclusive, fun and a little loud! The best part of volunteering at Headway events is seeing the joy in the guests as they’re entertained with music, food, art and conversations. The amazing members, staff and volunteers know how to put on a wonderful show which embodies Headway’s heart and soul and celebrates the good things in life. I always leave Headway feeling inspired, curious and just happy to be a part of it.”


Accessibility information

Headway East London is an equal opportunities employer.  Should you require any special arrangements to be made for your interview please contact us so that these can be organised.

Our accessibility provisions include:

  • Step – free access.
  • Provision of equipment and support.
  • Flexible Working arrangements

Applicants with a disability are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the role, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.

For further information or to organise a conversation, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Rachel Davies | rachel@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07961 208037

Lucy Mavers | lucy@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07947 935068

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    Thank you for your interest in this role. Please download the Job Description and Person Specification.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (ideally maximum 2 sides of A4 each) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification, including your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Application: Headway East London – Chief Executive Officer” into the subject field. You will receive an acknowledgement on receipt of your application within 2-3 days. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, please make contact with our admin team.

    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    Rachel Davies | rachel@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07961 208037

    Lucy Mavers | lucy@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07947 935068

    As a sector-leading executive search consultancy, we know the importance of creating recruitment processes which are fair, inclusive and free from bias. We are committed to promoting equality and diversity and developing a process that values differences.

    If you have a disability that meets the definition set out in the Equality Act 2010, and you can show that you meet the ‘essential’ criteria described in the person specification, please let us know.

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    Recruitment selection processes are based on evidence of competence stated in the person specification and in relation to our values.


    Closing date: 9 a.m. Wednesday 12th June 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome: Wednesday 19th June 2024
    First stage interviews: Wednesday 26th & Thursday 27th June 2024
    Second stage interviews: Thursday 4th July

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and Headway East London are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We will send you an equality monitoring survey at the point of receiving your application, in the interview phase and at the time of placement. This ensures that our processes remain inclusive and equitable throughout, and provides us with important data to help us showcase our impact. The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practices. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the Data Protection Act 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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