We’ve made it our mission to prevent strokes and help people to rebuild their life after stroke through providing services, campaigning, education and research.
Our work has been centred on six ambitions:
These real-life stories will show you how the Stroke Association’s work has impacted the lives of stroke survivors and their loved ones.
1. Preventing avoidable strokes
John Gott has been a volunteer for 15 years, and a Stroke Ambassador since 2014. He has been helping to raise awareness of the link between high blood pressure and stroke as part of our Know Your Blood Pressure campaign.
"Lots of people don't realise that high blood pressure is linked to stroke – having it checked makes them aware so they can take action. Over the past year, I’d say I’ve taken at least a couple of hundred blood pressures. We’re often invited to events at shopping and community centres, churches, mosques, companies and supermarkets, and I'm always looking for more opportunities. Recently we were at an event and four men whose blood pressure we’d checked the previous year, came back to thank us because they're now on medication to help. I enjoy the role very much. It is important, and quite a responsibility to represent the Stroke Association, which I'm very proud to do."
2. Making sure there is best stroke support and care
Our volunteers have been campaigning for NHS England to work with us in developing a new national plan for stroke. This will allow the NHS to deliver better care and support to those affected by stroke. Julie Payton shares her experiences of campaigning locally for A New Era for Stroke.
“When my husband had a stroke in 2013, we got support from the Stroke Association which made a huge difference to us. That's why we both now volunteer, and why I wanted to get involved with starting our local Warrington South Campaign Group. It’s important for stroke survivors and carers to have a voice and to be included in the decisions about the new stroke strategy for England. It's incredibly important that the new national plan for stroke in England plan is implemented. We need it to help stroke survivors to get better support and care so we need to get the word out."
3. Expand the network of services and long-term support across the UK
Heidi Matthews started using My Stroke Guide when she got home from hospital, and instantly recognised how she and her family could benefit from the advice, information and online community. Heidi now volunteers for the Stroke Association in Wales, and she recommends My Stroke Guide to all the stroke survivors and carers she works with.
“Stroke is a shock, so it’s good to read up on the effects to check if what you’re experiencing is normal,” said Heidi, whose stroke left her with severe aphasia. “My daughter Grace also used it to talk to a young stroke survivor, who helped her to understand what I was going through. “Chatting to other stroke survivors on the forums has helped me to improve my reading, writing and confidence. And I’m slowly improving my speech all the time. It’s good to tell people what you've experienced and tell others to keep on it.”
Find out more about My Stroke Guide
4. Building research and promoting knowledge to improve stroke care
Stroke survivor Odette Foster-Robinson supported us in raising awareness of the reports’ findings by sharing her story for our Change the Story campaign. Her Dad also had a stroke, so she is keen to know if there are genetic factors that can cause stroke and how her daughters can prevent it.
Odette said: “Just being able to walk properly would be the greatest joy. It takes a lot of strength, determination and pain killers to move. I find it really hard to wash and iron clothes, tidy up and I can’t attend activities at my daughters’ school. But I’m so grateful I survived to see them grow up and guide them. I have a really supportive family and the Stroke Association has helped me to think about my life after stroke, access benefits and meet other people affected by stroke. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else, but it’s helpful to feel less alone because stroke can happen to anybody at any time.”
5. Ensuring a well-trained and resourced health and social care workforce
Each year, the UK Stroke Forum Conference is held in partnership with us. It allows attendees to gain relavent training and find out about theh latest research and service developments. This is an extract from the speech given by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh at this year's UKSF:
“Stroke remains the fourth most common cause of death in this country and the most common cause of adult disability. It costs the NHS just over £3 billion a year and social services over £5 billion a year.
Given the a shortage of workforce almost across the board in the NHS, we're going to need to think radically, particularly if we want to bring new exciting treatments, like thrombectomy, to patients. NHS England is working very closely with the Stroke Association so that we can develop a clear plan for improving stroke services across the country. I think it's vitally important that the Stroke Association play a very leading role in the development of this plan. It won’t be easy. Nevertheless, I have great confidence that the evidence on which we base this plan - that demonstrates the need - will win the day.”
6. Developing the foundations for long-term growth
When Graeme Clark had a stroke during a triathlon in 2015, there was no way of knowing if he’d ever walk or talk again. Supported by his family and the Stroke Association, he resolved to make the best possible recovery and use his experience to help other stroke survivors.
"My speech was the biggest thing to happen to me. I could handle walking with a limp, but I couldn’t face not being able to speak properly ever again. I started speech and language therapy in hospital and continued practising my speech every day when I got home. I had to learn how to say my wife and kids' names again. It’s now two years since my stroke and I’m beginning to feel like my old self every day. I’ve even started running, cycling and swimming I took part in the Edinburgh Resolution Run. Taking part got me out of bed, back into exercise and has given me a lot of confidence."