Stroke Survivors Computer Group
Paignton Library, Torbay
The Stroke Survivors Computer Group was originally the idea of Colin Stephenson , a 72 year old Stroke survivor from Torbay with a fantastic idea.
Could a computer course for beginners be adapted to suit the needs of stroke survivors as a way of providing them with valuable computer skills, connecting them with other survivors and re-engaging them within their local community?
The answer was yes.
Colin with the support of Sue Herlihy and Charlotte Sumner from Library Services and David Mannion from the Stroke Association launched the first Stroke Survivors Computer Group.
The group now meets at Paignton library each week ready to learn new computer skills in a peer-to-peer learning model. They support each other in learning new computer skills and their re-learning of skills that they may have lost following a stroke. This includes skype, word processing and using the Internet. One 92-year-old participant has learnt to Skype and shop online for the first time and the group has even built its own website.
However, the benefits of the group go far beyond basic computer skills, providing an environment for stroke survivors to make new friends and increase their confidence in speech and communication.
The peer-to-peer group set-up enables them to help each other to overcome some of the difficulties resulting from their stroke and boost their memory and motor skills.
The group celebrated their first successful year when they won the prestigious Technology4Good Community Impact Award for 2012. The award recognises ‘inspiring local community projects that use computers and the Internet to help people overcome disadvantage to achieve social change’.
Founding member Colin Stevenson is also now a Digital Champion and earlier this year he won the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) South West Volunteer Award 2012 for his work on the project.
The Stroke Survivors Computer Group is keen for other similar groups to form all over the UK using their model as an exemplary project – and maybe they could even Skype each other.