Stroke survivors fear service loss

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Users of the county’s Stroke Association are worried they will have nowhere to turn when the support group disbands next month.

The service has lost its funding from Northamptonshire County Council and, barring last minute intervention, will close at the end of April.

And members and their families, who see the group as a lifeline, are concerned that there is no other service in Northamptonshire providing the same level of support.

Dean Crisp, 45, of Springfield Avenue, Thrapston, suffered a stroke in June 2010.

His wife, Rosie, said: “There is nothing else out there for people who have had a stroke – we can’t afford to lose this service.

“Dean has only been going to sessions since November but in that time there’s been an amazing change in his confidence.

“There’s confusion about what other services are out there, I only really found out about this through word of mouth.

“I’m Dean’s sole carer and it’s exhausting, the group gives me two hours every fortnight that I know he’s safe and happy.”

The association says that the Northampton Centre for Independent Living, where the council will now refer patients, has told them they are not equipped to deliver specialist stroke support.

Service co-ordinator Sarah Banfield said: “Once they come to the end of their speech therapy provided by the NHS they don’t know where to turn.

“People can become very isolated without the opportunity to practise their communication skills.

“These groups are great. Users realise they’re not alone.

“If the service goes they will have nothing left and will go back to the situation where they’re sat at home not able to go out or socialise.”

The Stroke Association works with survivors to build up confidence and teach them to read and write again.