Students help survivors

Sport students at Stoke on Trent College have teamed up with a local organisation to help provide support for those who have survived a stroke.

Members of the Stroke Association have been enjoying weekly exercise sessions and a range of health checks, supported by a group of learners at Stoke on Trent College, as part of their rehabilitation progress.

Each week, members of the Stroke Association have been attending the college’s Sports Academy, off College Road, in Shelton, to benefit from the knowledge of the students, who have provided one-to-one support to help the members improve their mobility and fitness.

Former football mascot Gavin Yorke, who was Boomer at Port Vale for 20 years,  suffered a stroke in October.

The 37-year-old, of Leonard Avenue, Baddeley Green, said: “The programme has been brilliant.

“I used to go to the gym a lot before I had the stroke so it was very frustrating when I realised I had to take things more slowly.

“I don’t really remember much of what happened on the day other than I wasn’t feeling well at work.

“The stroke has affected my speech and memory skills but I didn’t realise this until later.”

Anthony Brannen, Assistant Director for Sport and Public Services at Stoke on Trent College, said: “The learners have been involved in devising individual exercise programmes for those benefitting from the support of the Stroke Association locally. They have also been able to carry out a small selection of health checks for the group, including blood pressure, height, weight and BMI.

The experience is helping the students to gain a valuable insight into the needs of those who have survived a stroke, which moving forwards they can adapt to help identify the needs of clients in similar situations. It has been a huge learning curve, but one that will remain with them in their chosen careers.

“It has been tremendously beneficial for the students and being able to reach out and support the community is something they have thoroughly enjoyed.”

Sallie Tranter, aged 17, of Minard Grove, Parkhall, who is studying Sports Science, said: “I have never worked with people who have had strokes before but it was really nice to see them develop more confidence as the weeks went on.”

The Stroke Association provides high quality, up-to-date information for stroke patients, their families and carers. Every year there are approximately 152,000 strokes in the UK. Most people affected are over 65, but anyone can have a stroke, including children and even babies.

Maureen Speed, Information Advice & Support Coordinator for the Stroke Association in Stoke on Trent, said: “We have very much enjoyed working together with staff and students at Stoke on Trent College. Our partnership with the college has given a group of stroke survivors the valuable opportunity to engage in physical fitness activities, as well as understanding how the progress of their stroke is monitored.

“Stroke affects everybody differently, and rehabilitation for stroke survivors is vital in helping them get back to normal life, living as independent a life as possible. Every year there are approximately 152,000 strokes in the UK; that’s one stroke every three and a half minutes. It’s been great to see the students at Stoke on Trent College working closely with stroke survivors, to get a better understanding of the condition. We are really looking forward to working with the staff and students at Stoke on Trent College in the future.”

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