National recognition for Paignton library's work with stroke survivor (From This is The West Country)
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National recognition for Paignton library's work with stroke survivor
12:10pm Thursday 24th May 2012 in Devon
A unique partnership between Paignton Library and Information Centre and a local stroke survivor has received national recognition.
It all started with Colin Stephenson, a 72-year-old stroke survivor from Paignton who, with the support of his wife, plucked up the courage to attend a UK online course at the library.
He was hoping that using a computer would help keep his brain active, help his thought processes and improve fine motor skills in his recovery.
Colin learned at his own pace, with the tutor going over things he hadn’t understood first time. He went on to form a new group specifically for stroke survivors, based at the library.
The group, which meets weekly at Torbay Council’s Paignton Library and Information Centre, has already identified areas of specialised needs. Indeed, through Colin liaising with the Stroke Association Co-ordinator, they have arranged for a Torbay Care Trust speech and language therapist to visit on a regular basis to help with individual stroke-related communication needs.
Now, two years on, Colin's dedication and commitment to improving his life through learning has been recognised with a Regional Individual Learner Award.
Colin said: "I cannot express how much difference learning the computer has made in my journey of life. I say go for it because what it could do for others may take them on a new and wonderful journey."
Executive Lead for Culture and Arts, Councillor Dave Butt, said: "Recovering from a stroke is not just about learning to talk and walk again; it is about wellbeing, community, building belief, and confidence in individuals in order that they can see and re-build a future after a devastating event.
"We feel privileged to be able to work with Colin on this very special initiative and help him to re-build his life, and I am delighted that his work and sheer determination has been recognised with an Individual Learner Award. Colin is now determined to push for this model to be rolled out nationally in partnership with The Stroke Association, UK Online and local communities."
As part of the council's ongoing support for Colin's work it has joined forces with health professionals, Stroke Association staff and volunteers to offer free blood pressure testing and stroke prevention advice at the Paignton Library and Information Centre on Thursday 31 May.
The event, which takes place from 2pm until 5pm, is part of the first ever Action on Stroke Month and has been organised by the Stroke Association in partnership with NHS Devon, Plymouth and Torbay. High blood pressure is the biggest risk factor for stroke and high salt, alcohol intake and smoking all play their part.
Visitors will have the chance to have one to one discussions about their lifestyle, such as diet and fitness, and the chance to win a prize from the ‘Guess Who is Who’ photo competition.
Shaun McNally, from Paignton, had a stoke ten years ago and now supports other stroke survivors at the local Stroke Computer Group. Shaun said: “We don’t know all the causes of stroke but there are precautions we can all take against it.
You can check your blood pressure and make changes in how you live. I hope many people will drop into the library on 31 May and check out their risks.”
David Mannion from the Stroke Association said: “This event is a chance to celebrate the stunning progress that stroke survivors and health professionals have made in Torbay in supporting people affected by stroke and we invite anyone who is keen to reduce their chances of having a stroke in the future to join us at the event.”