Wigan stroke charity takes its pub-themed support group online during lockdown

Wigan-based Think Ahead Stroke has taken its popular pub-themed support group online, as it launches new ways to support members during lockdown.
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The charity opened The Tavern doors in 2019, as a weekly meeting space for male stroke survivors who still want to enjoy the fun and relaxation of meeting down the local, but can no longer visit the pub.

Meeting every Tuesday afternoon, The Tavern has steadily grown in popularity, with increasing regulars calling in each week to meet, catch up, and take part in traditional pub games, such as quizzes, pool and video and board games.

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Think Ahead Stroke’s activities and events officer Alex Yoxall said: “Because The Tavern has proved such a hit with the punters, we really wanted to find a way of keeping everyone in touch throughout social distancing, as the lads obviously can’t meet in person.

Tavern regulars on screenTavern regulars on screen
Tavern regulars on screen

“So The Tavern is now on online video platform Zoom. It was a challenge to set up, as everyone’s at different levels of technical ability, but we had our first virtual Tavern session online at our usual time on Tuesday at 1.30pm.

“We launched The Tavern because we felt that male stroke survivors and their carers needed their own space to meet and socialise, particularly as men are often at greater risk of the ill effects of social isolation and loneliness.”

Tavern regular Barry Smith from Whelley said: “It was great just to see everyone’s faces again, catch up and have a laugh with all the lads.

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“I’ve missed seeing them. It’s so hard for everyone having to stay at home, particularly stroke survivors, many of which are classified as vulnerable, or have reduced mobility and can’t get out and about, so The Tavern has become a social lifeline.

Members before the lockdownMembers before the lockdown
Members before the lockdown

“This week was just a bit of a fun catch-up, but there’s talk of quizzes, games and even a fancy dress week, the mind boggles!”

Alex said: “We hope to gradually grow the Tavern to include new stroke or TIAs (mini-stroke) survivors and carers. We’ll also be setting up online versions of some of our other popular classes.”

If The Online Tavern sounds of interest, email [email protected] – or visit www.think-ahead.org.uk.

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