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It was in 2003 when Lisa Turan joined the Child Brain Injury Trust as CEO.  I don’t think any of us thought that in 2018, she would be celebrating her 15th anniversary, and that the charity would be where it is today.  Just a few weeks ago the first ever parliamentary debate about acquired brain injury took place in the House of Commons, so it seems a fitting time to celebrate Lisa’s achievements and tenacity. Lisa is the driving force behind the charity and her persistence, energy and determination in raising awareness of the specific issues families face, when their child has an ABI or TBI leaves us in no doubt of her vision, and her aim to improve outcomes and to not settle for anything less than equality of support.

Back in 2003, the Trust was a lot smaller and tended to reach families though a number of  Support Groups and a range of very limited information.  It employed only 5 members of staff and based itself at the Radcliffe Infirmary Hospital in Oxford, which coincidentally is now used for research by the University.

In the early days many families found the charity by chance and when they did the support, although very much appreciated, was not as consistent or as sophisticated as it is today.

In any job serving 15 years is a huge achievement in itself, but in the charitable sector is it quite something. No other sector is quite like it.  Not only do you have the complexities of charitable law and accounting to get your head around, but also the nature of the work means that job security for anyone is not great, the financial rewards are not plenty, and you need to be able to move at a certain pace in order to keep as many ‘plates spinning’ as possible.

Lisa  has worked tirelessly for 15 years with families, professionals from health, social care, education, the voluntary sector and the legal sector, to mention a few, to promote equality of support for families affected by childhood acquired brain injury. Lisa has secured over £10m to advance the Model of Integrated Support across the country in order to reach as many families as possible, to educate the educators and to put childhood acquired brain injury firmly in the minds of those making decisions.  Of course, she hasn’t done this alone.  Over the years talented people have joined the team at CBIT to further the vision of the charity and to make it what it is today from the initial 3 staff now to nearly 40.

Key achievements include providing:

  • Support to over 25,000 families since 2003 with direct support, information and learning opportunities
  • Establishing a national Legal Support Service
  • Gaining UK coverage of the Model of Integrated Support
  • Being a Finalist of Social Entrepreneur of the year 2007
  • Providing  000’s of professionals with learning and conference opportunities to increase their ABI knowledge
  • Raising over £10m from supporters and Trusts, despite no central Government support


When we asked Lisa about her proudest moments so far, she said:

There are so many – from first being appointed as CEO and wondering if I could do the job, to securing my first major grant to attending the launch of the London Model of Integrated Support, which was the culmination of two years work to provide a suitable support programme across the whole of London.  I remember on the night in July 2017 feeling for the first time when I looked round the room at so many influential supporters and friends, that I had done something special and that I was truly proud of.  I took a breath, looked at what we had achieved and felt very overwhelmed!  The team of staff and trustees that I have the pleasure of working with are an amazing team to  lead.  Their passion, enthusiasm, knowledge and energy keep me going and together we fight for the ‘level playing field’ that families affected by brain injury deserve. 

It is a privilege to lead the Child Brain Injury Trust, we have achieved a lot with very little money, but there is still a long way to go…….  I would like to see a change in the way our services are commissioned.  I want Statutory services to recognise the value that the voluntary sector makes not only to their services, but also to the lives of people. I want the Government to recognise the expertise and the impact organisations like ours has on families.  I want educators to truly understand the need for better insight and understanding of ABI and most of all I want families to be able to access appropriate rehabilitation and support wherever they live.


Here’s what some of you think about Lisa:

Dame Judi Dench

Many many congratulations for all that you do for the Trust.

With very best wishes,

Judith Middleton – founder of the Child Brain Injury Trust

I am reminded that you have been with the Child Brain Injury Trust for 15 years, and when I think back to the day we interviewed you – Mary, someone whom we brought in from a personnel company, and myself, realised that appointing you was one of the best things I ever did for the Trust.  You were the third of 3 candidates, and we had virtually decided on No 2 when in you came in and completely bowled us over.  What a good choice we made.  And since then, I have seen not only the Trust grow but also you both personally and professionally, and think what a lucky day that was when you came to work for us.  Thank you for all you have done for the Trust, Trustees, Staff and most importantly for children with acquired brain damage and their families over the years.  I hope you continue in your upward trajectory, that you remain successful and most of all happy.

Rob Thomas –  Chairman

I presume we had better not include the night out in the Manchester drag bar….!!!

As chair of a charity it could be quite easy to get carried away with a sense of self importance.  Not in this case.  With reasonable regularity I am asked to attend events as Lisa can’t make it and realise I am but a poor substitute.  It comes with its own dangers as well as I think I am turning up for a nice dinner only to have a microphone thrust in my hand with the instructions of “say something”.

Lisa’s pursuit of raising the profile of the charity is never ending.  I am still awaiting my first meeting with Dame Judi Dench but I did attend a ball in Oxford including the late great Paul Daniels and his wife Debbie McGee.  A schoolboy wish granted!  However, the same evening Lisa also persuaded me to bid on an expensive bottle of vintage port for which my wife has only just forgiven me.

Life at the charity has by no means been plane sailing.  However, Lisa makes it look calm and serene.  Mainly because she has the sensible habit of driving a few miles away from the office before screaming.  Under her guidance we have expanded hugely from the early days with the roll out of the Child and Family Support teams, the education and learning offerings and the expansion of the team involved in raising awareness of the charity.  All this is underpinned by an iron grip on income and expenditure with the more than able assistance of Steph.  The vision to grow of the fund raising team and the many sources of income has been essential for all this to happen.  We are where we are because of Lisa.

Chris Owen – Trustee

As the new boy on the Trustee list, I have only known Lisa for 12 months or so. What I have found is her encyclopedic knowledge of the Trust, what is going on, how, when and where and all with a friendly and can do attitude. 

Andy Caudell – Trustee

Awesome achievement dear Lisa, to take CBIT on this journey over the last 15 years. You are an inspiration to everyone around you and I take pride in not only serving you as a trustee but also that I get to call you a friend too. My sincerest congratulations and thanks to you for the work you do in support of the children and families we seek to serve. To the future, may you continue to define it…

Gordon Cartwright – JMW Solicitors

Lisa, from myself and the entire team here at JMW, a massive congratulations on reaching 15 years as CEO!  It’s been mine and everyone else at JMW’s pleasure to get to work with you and the Child Brain Injury Trust over the years and help make a difference to the lives of those children and families who’ve been affected by a brain injury.  Your passion about the cause shines through both the work you do individually, and the direction you’ve taken the charity in.  It is great that the Child Brain Injury Trust has you at the forefront, driving matters forward and continuing to raise awareness about the help that is available to those who need it the most, at a time when they are at their most vulnerable.  I can’t wait to see what the next 15 years has in store!

Geoff Silva – Silva Legal Services

I have really only got to know Lisa over the last few years, however in that short time I have seen her relentless enthusiasm for highlighting issues surrounding Children who have suffered with brain injuries. Her exuberance and unending determination to ensure such children do not suffer unnecessarily is wonderful to see. She highlights issues which are so important and her ability to raise much needed funds for CBIT is remarkable. She ensures people go that extra mile in raising funds for CBIT. Well done Lisa on the last 15 years.  Here’s to many more!

Trevor Sterling – Moore Blatch Solicitors

I would say that I have had the privilege to work along side and support many CEO’s over a career spanning many years but Lisa has proven an exception – she is that wonderful combination of business acumen, innovation, dedication and style which is infectious and easily puts her in the category of one of the best charity leaders in the country at this time. CBIT is a wonderful charity not by accident – congratulations Lisa!

Harpal Sra – Barclays Wealth

Congratulations Lisa on a fantastic achievement. You have led by example and been a pleasure to work with.

Jill Kings – Neural Pathways

I am extremely lucky to count Lisa as a valued work colleague and supportive friend. She is a strong, inspiring woman who places her values at the heart of everything she does. To influence the world of brain injury is an incredible achievement. Lisa has accomplished this by creating innovative and sustainable models of care alongside partners who believe in her vision. Congratulations on your 15 year anniversary Lisa! May you enjoy the next 15 years and continue to transform the lives of those affected by Child Brain Injury.

Chloe Hayward -UKABIF

Lisa Turan has been a trustee of UKABIF for 7 years. During this time, she has been a constant source of support always willing to share her knowledge and experience with us. She has helped to steer UKABIF’s strategic direction and has positioned the the Child Brain Injury Trust as a strong ally and collaborator. Despite her busy schedule she gives her time whenever possible, her energy is endless and she always looks amazing! Congratulations on your 15 years at The Child Brain Injury Trust, Lisa. What an amazing development you have made over this time!


And from some of her team:


Lisa made me feel really welcome on my first day at The Child Brain Injury Trust.  Her introduction to the work of the charity was inspiring, showing a deep care for the families and a clear vision of our aims.  It is always good to know that Lisa is so dedicated to the work that we all do and that she is leading the way forward.” It was lovely to see the Chief Executive of our charity as soon as I started.  It really set the scene for the vision and values that we try to put into place.


Of all the organisations I have come in contact with over the years, from the private sector, public or community & voluntary sector, never have I had the pleasure of meeting a CEO like Lisa Turan. Lisa is someone who you know cares deeply for the teams she leads and cares for the families the organisation supports. Having Lisa at the head of a charity like CBIT makes me proud to work for such a caring organisation


I have only been with CBIT for 10 months but it clear that Lisa is passionate about the charity and is determined to drive it forward by keeping the needs of the families at its core. It is a pleasure to work for such a enthusiastic organisation and Chief Exec.  Congratulations on your 15 year anniversary Lisa!’