Stroke Association launches support line in Asian languages

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Stroke Association launches new ‘Here For You’ telephone service with support in Punjabi, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam.

The brand new Here for You service helps combat loneliness and isolation by providing stroke survivors and their carers with regular telephone support. Launching today, the charity wants to offer this vital support to more stroke survivors and also attract more multilingual volunteers to help rebuild lives after stroke.

We can offer support through our current volunteers in English, Welsh, French, German, Mandarin, Punjabi, Bengali, Hebrew, Japanese, Dutch, Italian, Arabic, Spanish, Swedish, Urdu, Portuguese, Somali, Hindi, Shona, Tamil, Turkish and Malayalam. Support in BSL over video call is also currently available. The service is only available to people in the UK.

Bridget Bergin, Executive Director of Stroke Support Services at the Stroke Association said: “Stroke survivors have told us that one of the most important things that helps them with their recovery is speaking to other stroke survivors, but also just having someone to talk to is important.”

One in five people with long-term conditions including stroke have not left the house since mid-March(ii) and over half (58%) of clinically extremely vulnerable people are continuing to shield even as lockdown eases(iii). Many stroke survivors live with comorbidities or are over-70 and have been advised to shield.

The Stroke Association has set up ‘Here for You’ for stroke survivors who are feeling lonely or isolated so they can talk to other stroke survivors and volunteers to help them feel connected.

Anita Tank, 51, a Punjabi speaker from Derby, joined the Here for You scheme as a volunteer after her Husband, Billy, had a stroke which left him with aphasia when he was just 49.

Anita said, “Billy’s stroke was totally out of the blue and a massive shock. We were so lucky that we lived close to the hospital, so the ambulance arrived quickly. The care he received then and in the months after his stroke has been amazing.”

Following Billy’s stroke Anita, joined Here for You after her daughter, Priya, who also volunteers, recommended it.

Anita said: “Volunteering for Here for You is so rewarding. You could be that person that makes a real difference to someone’s day and every day is different. You’re not there to judge, you’re just there to listen and guide where you can. It’s journey and every day is really different.”

Anita provides support in Punjabi, which makes a real difference to stroke survivors where English isn’t their first language:

“I think speaking Punjabi helps stroke survivors from the Asian community open up to me more, they feel more conformable and can say what they’re feeling more too.”

Anita is now encouraging others to get involved in Here for You and feels her own experiences of stroke have helped develop her knowledge too.

“You never feel that something like a stroke will ever happen to you or someone you love, so whatever you have experienced, you can use. I have learnt so much just talking to people about their experiences.

“It’s all about listening to someone, having that general conversation and letting them lead the conversation. Sometimes you have to do a lot more of the talking, sometimes you listen more. Either way you have to adapt yourself to whoever you’re talking to and that’s great!”

“Here for you is really rewarding and you learn new skills all the time.”

Stroke survivors and their carers can sign up for a half hour phone call, weekly, for 12 weeks with a trained Stroke Association volunteer.

To sign up to Here for You if you’re feeling lonely, isolated and in need of a chat, or to volunteer visit Stroke Association website or call the Stroke Helpline: 0303 3033 100

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