We have an amazing UK-wide network of stroke support groups. Run by our incredible volunteers, the groups create a safe and supportive space to try things again, learn more about stroke and to build your confidence as you rebuild your life.
After the disruption of the pandemic, many of our groups are meeting up again. But we need more volunteers to make sure they can keep going and be there for as many stroke survivors and carers as possible.
Volunteering is a great way to put your skills to good use and make a real difference. From making tea and having a chat, to leading a group or managing their finances, there are lots of ways to get involved.
UllaKarin Clark is a group leader at the Wokingham Stroke Support and Recovery Group. 'My mother had a stroke in 2004 and had to learn to walk again,' she says. 'She recovered and was able to go home and live independently. But I had to fight to get her the necessary physiotherapy. I wanted to help people like my mum, so I started volunteering at our local stroke group.'
With like-minded volunteers, UllaKarin organises activities and looks after the running of the group. 'I enjoy volunteering - it's very rewarding to work with stroke survivors and see they're getting better and regaining confidence.
'It's important for volunteers to understand that life has changed for a stroke survivor, and to listen - a genuine interest in people is essential.'
How you choose to give your time can be flexible. Ruth Blair from our Coalfields Life after Stroke Group, volunteers as the treasurer remotely. 'At first I was apprehensive about what would be involved,' she says. 'But it would be such a shame if the group stopped meeting and I knew with my help they could continue. I received online training. It was very straightforward. I have a Stroke Association point of contact too, if I need any help.
'I'm so pleased I gave it a go. I only spend around 15 minutes each week doing some admin for the group, but it means they can continue to meet, have fun and enjoy those couple of hours together. I would recommend it to anyone who has a small amount of time to offer - just do it.'
Do you lead a stroke support group?
On 10-11 October 2022, we're hosting our virtual Stroke Group Network Conference for people who organise and volunteer at stroke groups around the UK. It's a great opportunity to meet others, share ideas and learn more about running a sustainable group and supporting members.
To find out more, email us or call 01527 903 930.
Stroke News magazine
This article is featured in the summer 2022 edition of our magazine, Stroke News. Subscribe to our future editions available in print, on audio CD, or via email.