A voluntary support group for stroke survivors in Newport is eager to attract new volunteers.
Casnewydd Stroke Support Group is primarily a communication support group for stroke survivors with aphasia but is open to all affected by stroke. One in three stroke survivors have aphasia, which means they can find it difficult to speak, read and write.
Peter Smith, 78, has been volunteering with the group for five years after having a stroke in September 2008.
Peter, who is the group leader, was rushed to hospital when he found he couldn't swallow and had a sudden pain in his arm. In hospital Peter seemed stable but then experienced another stroke which put him in intensive care.
Following his stroke he still has weakness in the left side of his body, he can’t feel hot or cold and has lost his balance.
Peter explained; “I count myself lucky. Although I couldn't go back to work I regained my mobility and independence quite quickly. I was relieved to find the Casnewydd Group because it gives survivors an opportunity to share their experiences and be around others who have a better understanding of what they've been through. I make sure to use my experience to reassure members that it can get better.”
Kathleen Chorley-Betts (pictured second from right), 65, has volunteered with the group for four years. Kathleen explained; “My dad had a stroke but at that time there was nothing available to stroke survivors. He didn’t receive any support even though he’d lost his ability to read.
“I had been thinking of becoming a volunteer and noticed an article in the paper. I popped over to say hello in person and I've been here ever since. I really love it. The group members teach you a lot and haven’t lost their sense of humour. Some have even found them!”
Claire O’Shea, Information and Campaigns Officer with Stroke Association said; “Support groups are an important part of life after stroke. After a stroke many people feel vulnerable and can become isolated especially with communication issues. The Casnewydd group offers a safe environment to people to allow them to rebuild their confidence. It can be a gateway to new friendships and developing alternate ways of socialising.”
The group meet every Wednesday between 10:30-12:30.
If you want more information about becoming a volunteer please contact Claire O’Shea at the Stroke Association Wales office 02920 524407
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 around 152,000 strokes in the UK every year and it is the leading cause of severe adult disability. 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 www.stroke.org.uk