Managing an organisation in the voluntary sector these days is not a piece of cake. The economic climate, pressures on local authorities, social care, health and the wider commercial sector make setting and following a strategic direction akin to trying to catch mercury in a colander.

It does have some major positives which reflect the fundamental reasons for an organisation like Headway Surrey being brought into existence.  We know that we deliver a range and quality of services, punching well above our weight, that are crucial to the wellbeing of brain injury survivors, their families and carers and that, quite simply is why we are here.

But, nothing lasts for ever.  I came to Headway Surrey 11 years ago (I only meant to stay for two) and found myself immersed in an organisation which had a wealth of experience and, perhaps more importantly, the potential and scope to develop services and ensure that we could make a real difference for our members.

I had previously spent a number of years working in the hugely demanding areas of rough sleeping and homelessness – both locally and nationally.  Now - there was a client group which never failed to present a challenge – drugs and alcohol, mental illness, criminality and social deprivation all playing their part.

Headway Surrey was no less challenging but the difference was that that our members, the people we were working with, were extremely appreciative of our support.  They were, and still are, a friendly crowd who will try their utmost to find a positive path through the trauma, the strains, the emotions and the barriers experienced in the course of brain injury.

From learning to understand the issues affecting our members and making sure that our services were directed at the areas where they could be most effective, to fundraising and sustaining the reputation of the organisation, negotiating with groups such as the local authorities the NHS and, simply, ensuring that Headway Surrey was kept on an even management keel, we faced tremendous peaks and troughs.  Looking back we managed to navigate our way through - and I am convinced that we can look behind us and see, now, an organisation that has genuinely moved forward and proved its worth.

So the time is approaching.  As many of our friends already know I had decided to set a final date for my retirement. I have actually spent the last year or so working a three-day week but I will finally be waving goodbye this coming October.

Our Trustees have embarked on the task of finding a successor and I will do everything I can to support them.  I am sure, however, that they will find someone who can really understand what Headway Surrey is about and carry forward its ethos.

Watch this space.

Oliver McGeachy



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Headway Surrey is a Registered Charity. Registered Charity Number: 1046863. A Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England Number: 2991672 Headway Surrey, Headway House, North Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 9PU

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