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The Stroke Association charity has been awarded National Lottery funding to launch four new projects across England.

The charity has received £213,620 to support all projects, including one in North Devon. The Life After Stroke grant, awarded through Sport England, will support stroke survivors in becoming and staying more active after their stroke.

The Stoke Association is one of eight Richmond Group charities that Sport England is supporting with a total of £1.3 million of National Lottery funding. Its aim is to launch unique pilot projects to help prevent and manage long-term health conditions and enable people to become more active.

Sonya Webb, support co-ordinator for the Stroke Association in North Devon, said, “A stroke can happen to anyone, at any age, at any time, and it turns lives upside down in an instant. For some people, the effects of a stroke may be relatively minor and may not last long, while others may be left with more serious long-term problems.”

Webb added, “Being active can improve both your physical and mental well-being. It could help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, increase muscle strength and flexibility, and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.”

The sessions support stroke survivors to become active and stay active through peer support groups. Sessions are designed with stroke survivors to get people moving in a fun and friendly environment. The project works with local activity providers and makes sure all abilities are included.

Sport England’s executive director, Mike Diaper, said, “Support groups such as this one in North Devon play an important role in increasing and maintaining levels of physical activity among stroke survivors, while at the same time helping them self-manage their condition. The learnings we will gain from the project will be extremely valuable and will be used to benefit even more people with long-term health conditions across the country.”

Stroke survivor and Level 4 Action for Rehabilitation from Neurological Injuries (ARNI) specialist, Mark Fricker, told FitPro his reaction to the news by saying, “It is really good to hear that projects are being funded to help stroke survivors, however more should be funded by the local authorities.”

Fricker continues, “After my stroke and a six-week stay in hospital, I was released with rehabilitation care offered on the basis of a fortnightly physio appointment for 30 minutes. This is nowhere near enough. I was completely paralysed down the left side of my body and knew that I needed to do more to regain my strength and mobility back. Latest research claims that there should be a minimum of three hours rehabilitation per day for stroke survivors. I spent a minimum of five hours every day for two years to regain full function. Trainers working with stroke survivors should adopt the ‘use it or lose it’ philosophy: repetition and motivation.” 

As way of a conclusion for personal trainers, Fricker said, “Survivors need to move and use the affected limbs as much as possible in everyday tasks; they need to be set daily repetition routines such as grasp and release or laying knee bends, and trainers need to encourage and motivate as rehabilitation is often a very slow, frustrating process for the survivor.”

Mark Fricker will be featuring in Fitpro’s Spring 2019 magazine. If you would like to share your or a client’s story, get in touch with us at:

Where next?  Read Tim Webster call for The neuro trainer HERE