Who we are

Headway Tyneside is affiliated to Headway UK,  the national brain injury association.

We are a small team who work with people affected by brain injury and their families.

Our remit is to support you in knowing where to find help, staying well and feeling connected, and taking your next steps.

Headway Tyneside is run by a voluntary committee whose members bring a wide range of skills and experience and have a wealth of knowledge from working in the brain injury field. The committee is dedicated to improving the lives of people with brain injury and their families.

Meet our team

Elizabeth Alam


Elizabeth is a scientist by background and retired from a 30 year research and development management career with Procter & Gamble at the end of 2022.  Since then, she has been building a portfolio of voluntary roles that reflect her interests and utilise skills acquired in her professional career.

In addition to joining Headway Tyneside in early 2023, Elizabeth is the Group Coordinator for the MS Society North Durham Group and a volunteer with the Cranfield Trust, which provides pro bono management consultancy services to the voluntary sector.  Elizabeth is also a Continental Grade badminton umpire, officiating at local, national, and international tournaments.

Elizabeth lives in Whitley Bay with her husband, in an inter-faith/culture marriage of more than 25 years.  She has two more-or-less grown up sons, who grew up playing football and badminton and made the whole family a bit sports mad!

Jo Wallis

Specialist Clinical Lead

Jo is a specialist occupational therapist who joined Headway Tyneside in 2022. Before this, she spent four years working at an NHS neurorehabilitation centre after qualifying with an Occupational Therapy master’s degree in 2018. Jo has a background in the charity sector, previously working in training and development roles for a range of educational charities, and as a volunteer coordinator for a housing support organisation.

Outside of work, Jo enjoys swing dancing and is currently learning to play the drums.

Ellie North

Community Development Officer

Ellie joined Headway Tyneside in October 2021, having worked in Brain Injury Rehabilitation for over 17 years both as a Support Worker and a Rehabilitation Assistant. Ellie has worked with individuals following an ABI to support them to regain their confidence, increase their independence and improve their quality of life.  Ellie is passionate about helping people achieve their goals.  In her spare time, Ellie is involved in theatre in both acting and dancing, and previously ran a small drama group for Headway. She has also recently qualified as an Exercise Referral Specialist, and as a personal trainer for adults with long-term neurological conditions.

Jill Kings

Clinical Services Development Manager

Jill joined Headway Tyneside in September 2021 and brings with her over 30 years of clinical experience as a Consultant Neurological Occupational Therapist. Having worked in the NHS, in education and the independent sector, Jill has a unique depth of understanding about brain injury and is passionate about helping people affected by brain injury live their best life. Jill’s role as Clinical Services Development Manager is to work alongside members and the whole Headway Tyneside team to extend the range of clinical services for members and their families. 

Rachel Lees

Clinical Advisor Trustee

Rachel Lees is a specialist brain injury Occupational Therapist. She is a trustee and volunteer at Headway Tyneside and forms part of the clinical advisory team. She has been involved with the charity since 2012 and finds it so rewarding providing support and empowering individuals whose lives have been affected by brain injury. Rachel loves to spend time with the service users and gets involved with the social events. She is a very happy and positive person and always has a smile on her face. In her spare time, she enjoys making cakes, socialising, and keeping fit.

Matt Nakonesky

Clinical Advisory Lead

Matt trained as a Speech Pathologist (that’s what they are called over in Australia!) and qualified in 2009. Since qualifying, Matthew has worked primarily with adult clients who have experienced communication and/or swallowing difficulties due to a neurological event or condition.

He has worked in a range of clinical settings including large acute teaching hospitals, community based teams and spent several years working at a regional neurological inpatient rehabilitation centre in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is now the director and principal therapist of his own independent practice called Speech Therapy North East, which he set up in 2019.

Matt is passionate about delivering client focused and goal driven therapy. The use of technology is a large interest, both in the provision of therapy programs and also when considering the appropriateness of communication aids. He is very experienced working with patients who are involved in a medico-legal claim and enjoys the multidisciplinary approach to rehabilitation that this provides.

Sophie Moore


Sophie is a Senior Associate in the Court of Protection team at Sintons LLP. In her day-to-day role, Sophie assists individuals who have suffered serious injuries, including those who have acquired life changing brain injuries, to manage all aspects of their property and financial affairs. This is a very varied and demanding role and can include anything from overseeing the building of bespoke adapted properties to directly recruiting care teams. Sophie works closely with her clients, and all those who support them, to ensure that she fully understands her clients wishes and preferences and can help them achieve their goals. Sophie applies her skills in financial organisation and cash flow management to her role as Treasurer for Headway Tyneside.

Sophie joined Headway Tyneside Committee in 2022.

Dr David Lee

Research and development lead

Originally a Human Biologist, David then conducted a PhD in Sleep Psychology at Loughborough University’s internationally renowned Sleep Research Centre examining sleep and associated quality of life in vulnerable, clinical groups. Since then, he has held academic posts at Bradford and Newcastle Universities, lecturing in Psychobehavioural Treatments for Insomnia and holds a certificate in higher education practice.

He has trained in the delivery of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi) and Good Clinical Practice. He has delivered training and teaching workshops/ seminars to a wide range of healthcare professionals and delivered training in this field for the British Psychological Society. He provides consultation to companies and individuals relating to sleep and has provided expert witness testimony to the court with a particular specialism in personal injury and forensic sleep medicine. Findings from his own research have been published in international peer-reviewed journals. He is the author of “Teaching the World to Sleep.”

Jessica Lyth

Fundraising Sub-committee

Jessica is a Solicitor working in the Serious Injury Team at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors in Newcastle. She works with a wide variety of clients, a lot of whom have sustained a brain injury due to a road traffic collision or accident at work. The role includes liaising with families and MDT’s to ensure a holistic approach to their rehabilitation and life moving forwards. 

In Jess’s spare time, she loves to cook for friends and family and spend time with her husband and baby daughter.

Ellie Marriott

Fundraising Sub-Committee

Ellie is a solicitor in the neurotrauma department of Sintons LLP, supporting those who have suffered serious brain, spinal and polytrauma injuries. This involves helping her clients to access the support and rehbilitation they require.

Ellie joined the committee in 2023 to support Headway Tyneside’s ongoing fundraising efforts and systems.

Ellie is a keen sports fan, supporting Newcastle United and taking part in cheerleading.

Samantha Miller

HR Lead

Image and bio to follow.

Get in touch if you need help or support