The Brain Charity and NHS at 70

Being able to contribute to such an important project has been something we’re very proud of and knowing that the voices of the people who use our services will be listened to for generations to come has made getting involved very worthwhile

Sarah Oldnall, Public Relations Volunteer at The Brain Charity


The Brain Charity is a national charity based in Liverpool, which aims to improve the lives of people and families experiencing a range of brain injuries. NHS at 70 have worked in collaboration with The Brain Charity, to ensure the voices of their service users, supporters and volunteers are represented in our public archive of NHS history.



The Brain Charity Logo: a multicoloured brain

           Image Credit: The Brain Charity

A picture of Sarah Oldnall smiling

Image Credit: Sarah Oldnall


For the NHS at 70 team, working in partnership with The Brain Charity has been a wonderful experience - everyone there is friendly, welcoming and supportive. James our Merseyside co-ordinator met Sarah Oldnall, a volunteer for The Brain Charity, at a Healthwatch event, from which we developed a partnership. We asked Sarah to tell us more about The Brain Charity and her reflections on working with us. 



Sarah at The Brain Charity Art Workshop holding their painting

'The Brain Charity opened its doors in 1993. It was originally called the Glaxo Centre, then Neurosupport. It became The Brain Charity in 2015. The building was originally set up to have two functions, one to provide information about individual neurological conditions to newly diagnosed people and two to be used as a conference and training space for medical professionals who worked in the field of neurology. There were three staff and half a dozen volunteers when it first opened.'

Emily at The Brain Charity Art Workshop holding their protest banner

'Now, the main function of The Brain Charity is to provide emotional support and practical help to people who have neurological conditions as well as their family members, friends and carers. This happens in many ways, we provide: Counselling, Welfare Benefits Advice, Adult Learning Classes, Vocational classes, Employment Support, Carers Advocacy, Legal Services and of course Information about over 650 neurological conditions. Our information and advice service is national and we have a team of people dedicated to answering peoples queries via the phone and email.'

Julie at The Brain Charity Art Workshop holding up their protest banner


'Working with NHS at 70 has been great! I think it’s such a worthwhile project, people sharing their own experiences and viewpoints is a very powerful thing. Feeling like you matter and that you’re important has been something that’s been said time and time again by those who’ve taken part in the interviews and everyone without exception has enjoyed the process of doing it. Personally I’ve learned a lot about the NHS that I didn’t know as it has encouraged me to do lots of reading.'

David at The Brain Charity Art Workshop holding their paintings

'There are over 12 million people in England alone who have neurological conditions so they make up quite a large demographic, partnering up with NHS 70 has given some of those people a unique opportunity to have their say, which has been such a positive thing to do.

Meeting the NHS at 70 team and seeing how committed and enthusiastic they are about the project has been a joy. The art workshop that we held with the project was one of the most fun days we’ve had at the charity, something very different and something that lots of people wanted to get involved with.'


An NHS Treatment Timeline


NHS at 70 interviewed a range of people at The Brain Charity, including service users, family members, clinicians, volunteers and staff for our archive of NHS history. Listen here to extracts from some of these interviews talking about what The Brain Charity means to them.




Nanette Mellor has been the Chief Executive Officer for The Brain Charity since 2014, having spent the previous 20 years working across charity and third sector organisations caring for the disabled. In her interview Nanette reflects on the range of brain injuries or illness have and the challenges of this but how rewarding it is that The Brain Charity facilitates emotional peer support for the service users. 


Sarah Coughlin's life changed dramatically after a brain injury. Yet she reflects how, on a more postitive note, this change has led to new friendships and her involvement in different activities, such as spray painting workshops at The Brain Charity.


Likewise Rose Griffiths talks in her interview about how she felt both accepted and understood by her peers at The Brain Charity following a stroke and how important this has been for her.


In partnership with The Brain Charity we have we have delivered two art workshops, an object handling session and they have kindly hosted our 'Moments of Care' exhibition for 2 weeks. A huge thank you to all the staff, volunteers and service users who have welcomed and supported our team throughout. 

Browse the fantastic artwork produced by service users at The Brain Charity in July 2019, at our art workshop, led by artist Isobel Pickup, inspired by their NHS journeys.