Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


Stroke is the largest cause of adult disability in the UK. It can turn someone’s life upside down over night causing physical, emotional and social upheaval. It can affect mobility, speech and language, vision and cognition. “When stroke strikes act FAST” – but when you’re discharged from hospital you face a long slow process of recovery and adaptation to new-found difficulties, limitations and even disabilities. Bristol Area Stroke Foundation (BASF) is an independent local charity offering a holistic approach to the recovery journey helping over 700 local people per year to rebuild their lives after stroke. Our services offer a unique combination of practical, emotional and psychological support to stroke affected people and their carers and loved ones. We know that people can only recover physically if their emotional and psychological needs are met in a timely and accessible fashion. BASF’s mission is to support people to adjust to life after stroke. BASF is there throughout a person’s stroke recovery journey offering emotional & psychological, social & motivational, and rehabilitation support.
Mutual aid, through facilitated weekly After Stroke Groups, is a key recovery tool for our stroke affected clients. Our After Stroke Support Groups run weekly for 50 weeks of the year offering vital support for people who need renewed structure to their lives, who may have found their previous social networks dropping off, and their self-confidence knocked due to new-found difficulties and disabilities. Attendance is brokered through an assessment of needs done by one of BASF’s Stroke Coordinators, and the groups are facilitated by our Group Organisers assisted by volunteers. Each group runs as a weekly 2-hour structured session offering activities designed to improve physical and cognitive abilities, and to socialise with a group of people who understand and appreciate their experience. Some of the foremost concerns of our clients at assessment are to understand their condition better and to meet other people who have had similar experiences. Stroke groups, offering peer-to-peer support, have been proven to give significant benefits in a range of areas:
Practical – improving knowledge in relation to the condition and recovery path, treatment options and/or further services
Physical/communication – improving mobility and communication through exercise and verbal communication skills
Emotional – a neutral space within which to express frustrations and concerns, successes and achievements
Social – regaining confidence in a group setting, expanding support networks, and making new friends
Motivational – to continue to try to regain abilities and independence through the encouragement of group members
BASF manages three Stroke Groups, and a more practically-focused Gardening Group, in Bristol located across the city in Shirehampton, Fishponds, Bedminster, and Downend. Together they provide a much-needed service for 70-80 people of a range of ages, and the average attendance is around 60 per week. The Fishponds Group was established to provide a forum for younger stroke affected people. Out of the 20 volunteers who support the groups, a significant proportion are previous clients who volunteer with us as part of their rehabilitation and to help newer stroke affected people.
We regularly review outcomes and impacts for group attendees but clients are free to attend for as long as they feel they get benefit from the service. Last year group attendees in Bristol identified three key outcomes:
85% said the group improved their social network
Over 70% had improved confidence and self-esteem, and improved understanding of their health condition
Over 65% said it improved their physical ability, supported their rehabilitation, and/or improved their speech or confidence in speaking

Bristol Area Stroke Foundation

Moment of Pride

“We come together to help each other … it was the final cog in the wheel of my recovery” (Bedminster After Stroke Group member 2016)
We are proud that Bristol Area Stroke Foundation provides a unique community of support for stroke affected people and their carers and families in the Bristol area

Location: Bristol