Re-learning digital skills after a stroke

Stroke Survivors Group

Finalist, Community Impact 2012


Learning new computer skills atStroke-Survivors-Group-in-Torbay.jpg

Recovering from a stroke is not just about learning to talk and walk again; it is about overcoming a sense of isolation and re-building a belief in the future after a devastating event. The Stroke Survivors group meet each week in Paignton library to support each other in relearning computer skills they may have lost – such as sending an email or using a mouse.

The award recognises ‘inspiring local community projects that use computers and the internet to help people overcome disadvantage to achieve social change’.

The Stroke Survivors group meets each week at Paignton library to support each other to re-learn computer skills that they may have lost following a stroke. This might include word processing or using the Internet. One 92-year-old participant has learnt to Skype and shop online for the first time and the group has even built its own website.

But the benefits of the group have gone far beyond computer skills, providing an environment for stroke survivors to make new friends and increase their confidence in speech and communication. Founding member Colin Stevenson is now a Digital Champion and earlier this year he won the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) South West Volunteer Award 2012 for his work on the project.

Information, Advice and Support Co-ordinator, David Mannion, of the Stroke Association said of the group: “The library tutor, Charlotte, works sensitively with group members to enable them to help each other to overcome some of the difficulties resulting from their stroke and boost their confidence, communication, memory and motor skills. It’s fantastic that we’ve won this award and a great chance to champion the benefits of peer support. I hope the model will be replicated elsewhere.”

Stroke Association is working closely with the local clinical lead for Speech and Language Therapy to evaluate how this project might best be replicated across the country. If you’re interested in developing a similar service please speak to your local Stroke Association contact.