Kaye Adams, the host of ITV’s Loose Women, is throwing her support behind the Stroke Association’s ‘Here for You’ telephone support service. The brand new ‘Here for You’ service helps combat loneliness and isolation by providing stroke survivors and their carers with regular telephone support. Launching today, the charity plans to offer this vital support to more stroke survivors and also attract more volunteers to help rebuild lives after stroke.
Bridget Bergin, Executive Director of Stroke Support Services at the Stroke Association said: ‘Stroke survivors have told us that one of the most important things that help them with their recovery is speaking to other stroke survivors, but also just having someone to talk to is important.’
One in five people with long-term conditions including stroke have not left the house since mid-March and over half (58%) of clinically extremely vulnerable people are continuing to shield even as lockdown eases. Many stroke survivors live with comorbidities or are over-70 and have been advised to shield.
The Stroke Association has set up ‘Here for You’ for stroke survivors who are feeling lonely or isolated so they can talk to other stroke survivors and volunteers to help them feel connected.
Kaye Adams, whose mum had two strokes in 2018 said: ‘Stroke is a cruel condition that turns lives upside down in an instant. When my mum had a stroke our whole family’s lives changed forever. The thought of that happening during lockdown is just unbearable.
‘I can only imagine how scary it must feel for survivors and their loved ones. Having someone to talk things through, especially as people struggle to come to terms with what’s happened to them, is vital. The Stroke Association’s new “Here for You” service across the UK offers real hope to people as they cope with the impact of stroke on their lives. That’s why I’m proud to support this amazing charity and their work.’
Stroke survivors and their carers can sign up for a half-hour phone call, weekly, for 12 weeks with a trained Stroke Association volunteer.
The coronavirus pandemic has meant that all 215 Stroke Association Groups have been unable to meet, denying stroke survivors the vital peer to peer support for over four months now. The charity is still unsure when these groups will be able to start up their face-to-face meetings again. The ‘Here for You’ service offers two kinds of support:
- ‘Lived Experience’ telephone volunteers who have experienced stroke themselves and can connect with recent stroke survivors and help them talk through the challenges they are facing.
- ‘Connect and Chat’ volunteers who can talk and offer an empathetic ear to stroke survivors who are experiencing loneliness and isolation and would welcome a friendly voice for a weekly chat.
To sign up to Here for You if you’re feeling lonely, isolated and in need of a chat, or to volunteer visit Stroke Association website or call the Stroke Helpline: 0303 3033 100
Volunteers are expected to make one, 30-minute phone call per week for twelve weeks and also to attend a two-hour online training session delivered by the Stroke Association. Whilst people need to have experience of stroke personally or as a carer to undertake the lived experience telephone support volunteer role, the ‘Connect and Chat’ volunteer role is open to anyone regardless of stroke experience.
Juliet Bouverie, Here for You volunteer and Chief Executive of the Stroke Association, said: ‘No stroke survivor should feel alone as every stroke survivor deserves the best chance with their recovery. I’m a volunteer supporting two stroke survivors around the UK. I look forward to our weekly calls and we get on really well. It’s so rewarding to know that I can make a direct positive impact on someone’s life. Each week I notice how their confidence and speech are improving and I’m also learning new ways of getting better at supporting them too. It makes a difference to my mood and wellbeing too.
‘Demand for the service is already huge and we urgently need more volunteers. You don’t need to be a stroke survivor to volunteer. You’ll be helping people in the early days after their stroke or stroke survivors who may be feeling lonely or isolated and just in need of a chat.’
The languages we can offer support through our current volunteers are English, Welsh, French, German, Mandarin, Punjabi, Bengali, Hebrew, Japanese, Dutch, Italian, Arabic, Spanish, Swedish, Urdu, Portuguese, Somali, Hindi, Shona, Tamil, Turkish and Malayalam. Support in BSL over video call is also currently available.
For more information on how to access the service or to volunteer, please click here.
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