Arnot Hughes, 74 from Llandaff, Cardiff had a stroke in February 2020, just before the coronavirus pandemic forced a national lockdown. He left hospital after 10 days with a common post-stroke communication difficulty called aphasia,
“I could not speak at all when I left hospital. I had six weeks of speech and language therapy online but this was only available in English and was not enough. I am bilingual but Welsh is what I speak day-to-day. I made more rapid progress with my English because of the online zoom sessions, but I struggled to speak Welsh with my family.
“It was only the perseverance of my wife which has enabled me to start speaking Welsh. The hospital told me no Welsh language offer was available so it was her research that helped me in my recovery. We practice as a family, but it would have been so much more beneficial to have speech and language therapy in Welsh. Perseverance is definitely the key and I can see the improvements I have made, but it has been very difficult.”
Arnot helped initiate the grŵp paned a sgwrs, which was recently set up as part of the Stroke Association's Community Steps project. It is an informal peer support chat group for people across Wales who want to converse through the Welsh language.
Arnot said, “It is good to be able to speak to my peers in Welsh and have the opportunity to practice my daily Welsh conversation with other stroke survivors who have had a similar experience to myself and will hopefully help others who want to communicate more in Welsh with their recovery as well.