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New stroke group launched for stroke survivors in Southsea

Press Release   •   Jan 10, 2018 11:33 GMT

A new support group to help stroke survivors in Southsea is launching at Somerstown Central Community Centre, and will meet on a fortnightly basis at 10:30am.

The group has been created by the Stroke Association, and will provide a place for local people to meet fellow stroke survivors to share their experiences.

One stroke survivor who will be attending is father of two, Chris Bristol. Chris, 48, from Portsmouth, survived five mini-strokes (also known as a TIA or transient ischaemic attack) in September 2016.

The stroke affected movement in the right and left hand side of Chris’ body, and left him with a communication disability called aphasia. Chris was unable to speak or swallow for two weeks, and his memory was also severely affected.

Chris said: “Having a stroke was the scariest time of my life. Within a day, I felt like I’d lost everything. I couldn’t speak, read, write, or remember anything. I had to learn everything again from scratch.

“I really do believe that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the amazing staff at Queen Alexandra Hospital, the Stroke Association, and my supportive family and friends. I feel so lucky to have had so much love and support in my recovery. It’s helped me to get back on my feet and tackle life after stroke.

“I think that joining the Southsea stroke group will be a chance for me to give back to others, and thank the NHS and Stroke Association for all they’ve done for me. I’m looking forward to meeting local stroke survivors who have been or who are going through, a journey similar to mine. I hope to be able to inspire others, give advice from my experience and hear from other stroke survivors.”

Venita Symmons, Support Coordinator at the Stroke Association, said: “Our new support group will be a much-needed place for local stroke survivors and their families to come together and support each other.

‘Stroke is life-changing, but the charity’s work, such as this new social group, can really make a difference to lives of stroke survivors. It’s hugely important that stroke survivors feel supported in their local community throughout their road to recovery.”

The first group meeting will take place on Wednesday 17 January at 10:30am. Members will meet at the Central Community Centre café.

For more information about the support group, please contact Venita Symmons on 07712 326 997 or

  • A stroke is a brain attack which happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain. There are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year; that is around one stroke every five minutes. There are over 1.2 million people in the UK living with the effects of stroke. 
  • Stroke Association is a charity. We believe in life after stroke and together we can conquer stroke. We work directly with stroke survivors and their families and carers, with health and social care professionals and with scientists and researchers. We campaign to improve stroke care and support people to make the best recovery they can. We fund research to develop new treatments and ways of preventing stroke. The Stroke Helpline (0303 303 3100) provides information and support on stroke. More information can be found at