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Meet Connect volunteers

John Lewis

I used to be a university lecturer – originally in Maths but for the last thirty years in Computer Science  - and I was always most interested in trying to help students to learn for themselves, understand things and not just to pass exams. When I finally retired I wanted to do something where I could still interact with people - my wife Carol had already been a volunteer at Connect for two years.

Carol's brother had a very severe stroke in 1995 and so I had some experience in communicating with someone with aphasia. It has been very interesting and rewarding to learn more about aphasia and communication skills through the training course at Connect and during the volunteering. All the staff at Connect have always been very helpful and supportive.

At Connect I work with other volunteers and people with aphasia who are involved in the Innovation Projects. In the Tuesday Conversation Group we work with the facilitators who run the group and help the members of the group to communicate with each other. There is a different topic for discussion each week and there always is a lot of enthusiasm and laughter which is important. I also help with the Men's Group which meets once a month (some members have a wicked sense of humour), sometimes with other activities and with visits to art galleries.

All the people I meet at Connect are different, but they all understand each other's situation, help each other and allow time for communication to take place in whatever manner is best. They all come from very different backgrounds and circumstances and I
feel that each visit to Connect is just like meeting lots of friends whom I've known for a very long time.

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John, with Carole Rickards (who has aphasia), in a training session for people with aphasia to gain skills in leading groups.