New support service for couples

A stroke can have a devastating impact on not only the person who has suffered it but also on their partner. The Phoenix Stroke Club is launching an unique service called ‘New Beginnings’ to help couples live better together following a stroke.

At the course couples are given a topic to discuss or an activity to complete together at home. During the sessions they then spend time discussing how it went, what they learnt from it and have the opportunity to share experiences with the other couples.   The New Beginnings course runs fortnightly with a total of six sessions.

The sessions are led by Gail Midworth–Dodds, a speech therapist who brings over twenty years’ experience of helping people with stroke and other long term conditions.

Carolyn and Carl Hibbert

Commenting on the course Gail says: ‘Stroke can bring about communication difficulties impacting on every aspect of a couple’s lives together including day to day chores such as shopping together,  making phone calls, to socialising and keeping in touch with friends.’

Carolyn and Carl Hibbert recently attended a pilot of the course and both found it extremely helpful. Carl had a stroke in 2014 which left him with very limited speech and reduced mobility on the right hand side of his body.

Carolyn said: ‘Just by doing a new simple activity, like a cooking exercise, is a great way to positively challenge a stroke survivor and give them more confidence in their ability to do things.  The safety of this small group allowed us to have open and honest discussions and share difficulties with people in a similar situation to us. By talking with other couples we didn’t feel so isolated.’

Carl stated: ‘We have learned how other people have coped with their stroke and we can compare notes and see what works for each other. This course has helped me be much more aware of how the stroke impacted on Carolyn.

Carl added: ‘When I joined the club I could only speak three words and now four years on most people can’t tell that I’ve had a stroke. Phoenix Stroke Club has given me the opportunity to learn and I now work part time which I am thoroughly enjoying. I would fully recommend the new group as it has led me to a fresh start and benefited both our lives.’

Manager of Phoenix Stroke Club,  Judy Clark added: ‘We are excited about the New Beginnings group and the feedback has been very positive.  We realise the importance of including family members or close friends as their lives have also been affected.  By encouraging confidence, practical solutions and humour within the sessions we aim to enable life changes to be positive ones.’

The next course starts in autumn and to express an interest in joining this or a future course call Judy or Ann on 01403 268130 or email at   Numbers are limited to four couples and costs £60 for the six sessions.