Front entrance to the St Andrew's with Castle Gate United Reformed Church Hall on Chaucer Street

As the stroke community prepares to mark Stroke Awareness Month in May, survivors in Nottingham are missing valuable social club meetings, which are crucial for their recovery.

Since March last year, the Nottingham Stroke Club have suspended their weekly group meetings due to COVID-19, with no plans of starting up again until September 2021.

Audio: Bob Logan reveals the Nottingham Stroke Club will not be restarting until September. 

The Stroke Club, which runs its meetings from the St Andrew’s with Castle Gate United Reformed Church Hall on Chaucer Street, usually hold double sessions every Thursday lunch time – one where members can practice rebuilding their strength with chair exercises, and another with quizzes and table games for brain stimulation.

Unlike other weekly social clubs that have found ways of continuing throughout the pandemic, the Stroke Club have been unable to run their group meetings virtually.

This is mainly because they strongly rely on face-to-face exercise classes, as well as the majority of the group being over 65 and struggle to adapt to new technology.

“They are susceptible, so we have to be very careful before we start up again”

Bob logan, chairman of the nottingham stroke club

Bob Logan, the Chairman of the Nottingham Stroke Club, says that around half of the members are staying in touch on WhatsApp, although they are yet to be informed about the group’s delayed restart.

“The ones that regularly chat to each other on WhatsApp are all geared up and ready and think that once lockdown is lifted that they’ll be able to return,” he said.

Bob Logan and Elaine Cansfield at the Nottingham Stroke Club Christmas festivity in December 2019

The news that the club will not be restarting after lockdown restrictions ease will disappoint many of the group’s members, although Mr Logan says that this is the best way to protect them.

“They are susceptible, so we have to be very careful before we start up again.”

Elaine Cansfield, 68, who suffered a stroke in 2005, has suffered paralysis on her right arm and weakness on the right side of her body ever since.

“I miss the people, the fun we had, the sociability of it all”

Elaine cansfield, stroke survivor

As a regular member of the Nottingham Stroke Club and the leader of their chair exercise classes, Elaine has felt that the closure has had a massive impact on her health.

“I miss the chair exercise classes a great deal, not being able to do it or go to the gym has impacted my walking and my flexibility. I miss the people, the fun we had, the sociability of it all. I do exercises at home but it isn’t the same,” she said.

This Stroke Awareness Month, Nottingham Stroke Club are unable to gather together to mark the occasion. The group would usually raise money for the Stroke Association, where donations would go towards helping stroke survivors rebuild their lives and stroke research.

The Act FAST campaign raises awareness about the signs of a stroke [Credit: NHS]

“Stroke Awareness Month is very important to stroke survivors. It helps highlight what a stroke is all about and brings focus on how important it is to educate others on stroke prevention,” says Mrs Cansfield.

This year the Stroke Association have launched their Save Research Campaign to raise awareness about the damaging effect COVID-19 has had on stroke research, after their research budget had been cut in half due to a drop in charitable income.

Types of Strokes:

Ischaemic stroke – caused by a blockage cutting off the blood supply to the brain. This is the most common type of stroke.

Haemorrhagic stroke – caused by bleeding in or around the brain.

Transient ischaemic stroke – a mini stroke. It is the same as a stroke, except the symptoms only last for a short amount of time.

Source: The Stroke Association