Hi, I’m Charlotte.
I work at Paignton Library and I have been a part of the stroke survivors group since it started in September 2011. As part of my library work I have taught people basic computer skills to groups and individuals, but this group was a new and exciting chance to work with people who had extra challenges to overcome when learning (or re-learning) skills. When we started the survivor group we weren't quite sure how it would develop or how many people would turn up!
I’m thrilled to say that any hopes we had have been exceeded in every way! The group has evolved from being just a computer class to become a group of friends who meet once a week to share and extend their knowledge of computers (and life in general). I am amazed week on week how far people have come along their learning journey, and they all have different goals and roads to take to get there. For some it may be learning how to type, setting up an email account, or speaking to relatives on Skype! Others may have the knowledge but as their mobility has been affected, we have special types of mouse which can help. I feel that the most beneficial aspect of this group is the survivors that come along, there is a real sense of camaraderie as everyone works together and are eager to help provide support not only with the computers but in other ways as well. As you can see from some of the comments they've made themselves, it is not only computer skills being improved, but communication and confidences have had a real and significant boost.
I am so privileged to work with such amazing individuals with the courage they have shown in dealing with the cards that life has dealt them, and I look forward to what the future will hold for us all as a group. The existence of this website shows how far some of them have come and an inkling of what as a group can be achieved.
Hi I'm Shaun,
I had my stroke in June 2001 in The Dominican Republic and I had my 48th birthday in hospital there. I had fantastic insurance at the time and they paid everything for me including my own jet from The Dominican Republic to Miami in the USA, first class flight from there to London and then from there I had an ambulance to Derryford in Devon.
Unfortunatly I don't remember anything about it as I was "out of it". I can't afford the same fantastic insurance now as it would cost the earth - but hey ho! That's life! I'm here!
Slowly and surely I got better to where I am now. I use the computer to surf the web and contact others like me who've had strokes as well.
My aim in joining this computer group has far been exceeded itself. I just wanted to fill in some time and make some friends in the bargain. I didn't realise how much more, we as a group, could do!
It brings about hope, self esteem and confidence that we as stroke survivors need.
We've won awards both as a group and individualise. The UK Technology 4 Good 2012: Community Impact Award and National Institute of Adult Continuing Education Awards 2012 which Colin himself won their South West Volunteer of the Year Award for his work on this project.
We've set up a Website as you can see. It just gets better and better!
Hi my name is David,
I had my first stroke in 2001, and my second stroke in 2006. The first was shock enough, but the second even more so and the struggle back to as near to normal life as possible is a very, very long road to travel. I have recovered as much as I ever shall and daily life is still a constant battle.
I was so very delighted to join the Torbay Stroke Survivors Computer Group as a volunteer teacher. As I have had strokes myself, there is an immediate rapport between teacher and pupil, and there is no reticence on either side as to the learning curve required. We work at the most appropriate pace for the pupil and my satisfaction comes when the pupil grasps what might be considered by others as a tiny advance, but which to the stroke survivor pupil and myself, is a giant achievement.
Volunteer teachers have patience, understanding and empathy. It does not matter how many times we cover a particular topic, as it will be repeated until the pupil is happy. This is only possible as we provide a one to one environment, which means that there is no pressure on the pupil, or teacher for that matter, to perform to a class average, and, therefore, encourages the pupil to maximise their potential.
This volunteering has given me some structure to my life, which to many stroke survivors is essential, and the pleasure that the pupils show by way of their achievements is enough to warm anybody's heart.
Hi I'm Phil,
When I was discharged from hospital I found it difficult to walk and talk. I was lucky to have a flat footpath outside my house and when Anne, my wife, returned from work every day she would help me.
With the aid of 2 walking sticks and her holding on to me I was able to keep my balance. I took small steps to start of with over small distances, then I was able to built my leg muscles and balance. This progressed to me to walking up and down stairs with the aid of a hand rail.
With regards to my speech, what I did, when my wife was at work, I used to read the papers out loud so nobody could hear me if I made a mistake. I also found that using a headset to listen to vocal music, to cut out any background, also helped.
In 2013 Colin asked me if I would be interested in joining Torbay Stroke Survivors Computer Group as a volunteer. I said yes because I already could use a computer. It is so rewarding to do this. To see the look of joy when the person you are teaching achieves something they thought they could or would never do.
A smile is all it takes to say thank you.
Hi I'm Ian
I had my stroke in August 2011
It took me quite a while to come to terms with
the effects of my stroke.
I have had a lot of support from Jenni, my Occupational
therapist and Sarah, my Speech therapist at Torbay Hospital.
I was introduced to the computer group by David Mannion who has also given me support with my stroke etc.
since joining the computer group I have regained some of my confidence with computers and made some new friends.