The Stroke Association and Humberside Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) have joined forces to help stroke survivors in Hull become more active.
The charity’s Stroke Prevention Service has teamed up with Clough Road Fire Station to provide stroke survivors with free weekly gym sessions, which will aid their recovery and help minimise the risk of further strokes.
The partnership was made possible by stroke survivor Mike Brown, 57, from Hull. Formerly Estates Manager at HFRS who worked for the service for more than 40 years.
After a stroke in December 2015, Mike became a volunteer for the Stroke Association, supporting the charity at local groups, testing blood pressures in the community and helping to raise awareness of the condition as an ambassador.
Mike said: “When we built the gymnasium at the new Clough Road station, it was very much designed to support people in the community, so this partnership seemed like the perfect opportunity to help local stroke survivors with their health and fitness.
“My stroke left me with weakness down one side and short-term memory loss, which meant I had to retire early, so I took voluntary redundancy. After meeting up with the Stroke Association I’ve turned a negative experience into a positive one. Everyone who attends our gym sessions has different goals, but it’s so important to find a way to keep active.”
After launching on Thursday 20 July, around five stroke survivors will now visit the gym each week. During the sessions they will be supported by Ben Crawforth, Stroke Prevention Coordinator at the Stroke Association, a qualified gym instructor, and an on-site personal trainer.
Ben Crawforth said: “We’re trialling the partnership for a month to see how it goes, but the feedback has been very positive so far. We’re hoping to roll out the sessions across different fire stations in Hull to make going to the gym even easier for stroke survivors in the area. Regular exercise can reduce your risk of stroke by a quarter. There are lots of ways you can be more active, even if you find it difficult to move around, such as chair based exercises.
“We’re extremely grateful to Mike for helping to make this happen. Volunteering has given Mike a new lease of life since his stroke, and it’s great that he has been able to draw on his connections to help others.”
Allen Cunningham, Community Safety Manager from HFRS, added: “We as a service are constantly looking for opportunities to be involved with the local community. This is a great scheme for us to add some social value to the prevention work we do. We will also ensure the group receives prevention advice and support to keep them safe at home. We will be looking to work in other areas of the service as the operational crews are very happy to get involved. A big thanks to Ben and Mike for their good work for getting this started.’’
The Stroke Association provides a Hull Prevention Service, in partnership with Hull City Council. For more information about stroke, ring the Helpline on 0303 30 33 100 or visit www.stroke.org.uk.