Wigan charity Think Ahead Stroke explains how it has adapted to lockdown

Wigan based charity Think Ahead Stroke has revealed its revamped programme of support and activities, amended to fit with ongoing social distancing measures.

Tuesday, 12th May 2020, 7:00 am

Wigan based charity Think Ahead Stroke has revealed its revamped programme of support and activities, amended to fit with ongoing social distancing measures.

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Wigan stroke charity Think Ahead takes its pub themed support group online

Due to the closure of its Stroke Information Centre in Ince, all new enquiries from stroke survivors, whether recently discharged from hospital, or further down the road in their recovery, must now be made via the phone or email.

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Mary Williams from Think Ahead Stroke gets in touch with service users. Image: Paul Greenwood

As well as reminding stroke survivors and carers to get in touch, the charity is placing an increased emphasis on generating referrals from local health and social care colleagues and those who work for other charities and organisations.

Members of the Think Ahead Stroke team are now home based, and can assess a stroke survivors’ needs over the phone, before suggesting a range of possible further support – including matching people with trained, volunteer peer-mentors.

The well-established peer Mentoring Programme is now being delivered remotely, with peer mentors meeting regularly with stroke survivors and their carers via phone or video, listening and understanding personal challenges, before sharing their experiences and advice.

This can range from psychological support, such feelings of isolation and hopelessness, to practical advice on how to access health care or local services in the current crisis.

Alex Yoxall from Think Ahead Stroke gets in touch with service users. Image: Paul Greenwood

For existing service users, Think Ahead Stroke is also gradually transferring a number of its activity groups online.

Think Ahead Stroke’s Carol Sankey said: “It’s fair to say we’ve had a pretty intense period of readjustment over recent weeks. Virtually everything we do is face-to-face, so this presents obvious challenges when faced with social distancing.

“But, regardless of Covid-19, we know there are hundreds of stroke survivors in the Borough that need our help, so we must put their needs first and find new ways of working.

“Our Mentoring Programme is now fully virtual, so our trained peer mentors can assist stroke survivors and those who care for them via phone and video.

Carol Sankey from Think Ahead Stroke. Image: Paul Greenwood

“We know that everyone in the Borough is under pressure at the moment, so we encourage local organisations to take advantage of our available capacity in this programme, as it is imperative we all work to our strengths in this crisis.”

Carol added: “The Think Ahead Tavern, a pub themed support group for male stroke survivors, has now transferred to a weekly, Tuesday afternoon get-together on Zoom, and we’ve also just launched specialist a support group for carers, with other online activity groups to follow shortly.

“We’ve also identified those existing service users that we deem to be most vulnerable, and will be reaching out to regularly keeping in touch across the duration of the crisis.

“Yes it’s a tough time for everyone, but I know when I speak for my team here at Think Ahead Stroke that we feel privileged to be able to make a positive impact in peoples’ lives, and we can and want to do more!”

To get in touch with Think Ahead and find out how we can help, please call 01942 824 888 or email [email protected]

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