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New organisation to run Connect project

11 September 2008

The successful peer-support scheme will continue to support people with aphasia in Lambeth and Southwark now that it is run by the Disability Advice Service in Lambeth (DASL).

After two years of being developed and run by Connect, the Stroke Peer support Scheme was handed over to DASL (Disability Advice Service Lambeth) on the 1st July, 2008.

The Scheme began in June 2006, and was a collaboration between Connect and the Stroke Modernisation Initiative.  It involves volunteers with stroke and aphasia visiting others living with stroke in Lambeth and Southwark.  Almost a hundred visits were made within the first eighteen months of the scheme, with sixteen peer support volunteers visiting people at home, in hospital and at the Connect London centre.

Volunteers report how much they enjoy the scheme.  They feel that there are benefits both for people being visited, and for themselves as peer supporters.  They also feel it is important that peer support is offered by people who have the experience of living with stroke.

'You’re like a living example – a role model for what’s possible. Encourage people to re-engage with life'.
'It’s someone who’s been there : we show that a stroke is not the end. Unless you’ve been there you can’t know what it’s like'
'The scheme has given me more courage to ask for things myself and to join in conversation'

I wanted to prove I was ok, this is my own way of doing it'
“I see myself fulfilling a role'

People receiving visits also report positive experiences of the scheme.  One person enjoyed ‘seeing other people, a journey and somewhere to go’.  Another appreciates others ‘'taking time to visit’, and many have said how good it is that people visiting them are ‘aware of the problem from a patient’s point of view’ and ‘know what it’s like’ to live with stroke.

David Strong, director of DASL, gave his view on the takeover:
'DASL is delighted to be taking on the coordination of the Peer Support Scheme.  The scheme is a key part of the Lambeth and Southwark Stroke User Involvement Network, which we are working with people living with stroke to develop over the next three years.

We have enjoyed working with colleagues at Connect and with the current group of peer supporters over the past few months to learn about how the service works and we are excited that six new peer supporters have joined the scheme recently.
The scheme has already proved itself a really important service, both for the volunteers who provide it and for those who receive it. It is good to see our local boroughs leading the way in this area. We are sure the service will go from strength to strength and will be a very positive experience for many more people in the future'.

Connect will be using the learning from this project to support other areas to set up their own peer-support and befriending schemes. If you would like your enhance the service you offer in this way, please contact Carole Pound on 020 7367 0870

If you live in Lambeth and Southwark and you would like to hear more about the scheme, call David Strong at DASL on 020 7642 0040.

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