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Access to Life in Cornwall Moves Forward

10 April 2007

Over the last year, Connect has been working with local people living with aphasia in Cornwall to identify what they think about the services and opportunities available to them. We have held a number of events across the county, asking what people liked about services, what they didn't like and what they felt was missing. At Alverton Manor Hotel in Truro on March 26th, we fed back the results of these listening and involvement events.

Over fifty people living with aphasia in Cornwall came to the 'Moving Forward 2007-8' event.

Key messages emerging were:

  • Contact with services was often too short, and can be inflexible
  • there's more to life than therapy
  • providers need better skills and resources to work with people with communication difficulties
  • positive attitudes make all the difference
  • people need information in different ways, at different times.

Pam Knight and Caroline Marchant talked about the positive benefits of the conversation partner scheme in Cornwall. Caroline is a volunteer who was trained to develop her communication skills to have conversations with Pam (who has aphasia and lives in a local nursing home). They have developed a strong friendship along the way.

Pauline Needham talked about the lack of understanding of her aphasia after she had a head injury, and how little support she had at the beginning. She has now become a communication skills trainer with Connect. She talked about her involvement in a local stroke support group, and local arts opportunities.

We shared our plans for enhancing and improving services and opportunities for 2007-8. The main themes of the Access to Life Plan this year are:

  • Changing the understanding and skills of people who provide services
  • Improving information
  • More opportunities for activities to try out
  • More opportunities to join in and make a difference for others
  • Fundamental to this work will be the involvement of local people living with aphasia.

We outlined a number of opportunities for people living with aphasia to become part of the development and delivery of the plan:

  • We are creating three 'hubs' of people with aphasia in West, Central and North & East Cornwall to help us develop the work in the county, and support other people with aphasia to get more involved.
  • We will be training more people with aphasia as communication skills trainers through the year, and across Cornwall
  • We will be setting up an 'Information Review' group to find out how people living with aphasia get information, and make suggestions for improvements for improving the way people get information.
  • We will be setting up trial conversation groups across the county, and training local people with aphasia to run them
  • We will be working with local people with aphasia to make links with arts, education & leisure organisations and identify how to access a range of new opportunities for people living with aphasia next year
  • We will be developing a pilot 'Befrienders' scheme, to train local people living with aphasia to meet and support other people living with aphasia in their communities

If you would like more information on how to be a part of the Access to Life Plan for 2007-8, please contact Sally Byng, Project Director [email protected] or via Sam Cleeve on 01726 858 469.

Participants at Moving Forward event

Participants at the Access to Life - Moving Forward event.

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Find out more about this project in Access to Life in Cornwall Project