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Carmarthenshire Community Community Swansea West Wales

Nia Griffith MP visits inspirational men’s peer support stroke group

DAME Nia Griffith MP recently visited a Men’s peer support group run by the Stroke Association which takes place every month at the Tafarn y Phoenix in Gorslas, Llanelli. 

There are twenty three men in the group from across Carmarthen, Swansea and Llanelli who meet up on the last Thursday of every month and act as peer support to each other as they rebuild their lives after a stroke.

Every stroke is different but it is life-changing for the stroke survivor and their family. The Stroke Association provides a Life after Care service which helps stroke survivors in their recovery whether it is one to one support or introducing them to groups like the men’s group where stroke survivors discuss all things stroke and how it affects them physically, mentally and emotionally. 

The peer support is invaluable as they share stories and advice to help support each other.

The men’s group has been running for the last four years and was initially set up by the Stroke Association as a gap was seen by support coordinator Angela Hayes in the aftercare stroke survivors received. There were a number of young men in the area who had similar experiences of stroke and to help with their recovery the group was set up so they could support each other and share their experiences. 

Nia Griffith MP said, “So often a stroke comes out of the blue and is a life-changing event having a major impact, not only on the stroke survivor but on their family as well, affecting everything from employment and financial circumstances to relationships and social life.  So it was heart-warming to hear first-hand that as soon as a stroke patient is discharged from hospital, the local Stroke Association coordinator makes contact and offers a whole range of expertise and support.   

The support group that I visited is part of that on-going support: it meets once a month and enables sufferers and their families to access support and information as well as to share knowledge and experiences with those who find themselves in similar positions.

The help provided by the Stroke Association in Carmarthenshire continues to be invaluable and it was encouraging to see and hear directly from each individual how they have been supported, with the Stroke Association often enabling them to resolve or pre-empt difficulties.”

Stroke survivors Dave Jones and  Gareth Liles who were two out of the three original members help coordinate the group but it has since grown to twenty three members who attend regularly with members joining every month.

Gareth Liles, 43 years old said, “I was part of the group from the start and they have become like family to me. We meet up regularly but we also have a Whatsapp group so if anyone has any questions one of us is there to answer or help and support. If someone is having a bad day then we put it on the group chat and someone is straight there to offer support as we know what each other needs. The other men in the group are the only people who really understand how I feel and can support me best. If any of us have a problem they understand it and we help each other through it. It is invaluable to us and we couldn’t thank the Stroke Association and Angela for helping us come together and setting up the group but also letting it grow into what it has become.”

When a stroke strikes, part of your brain shuts down. And so does a part of you. Recovery is tough, but with the right specialist support and a ton of courage and determination, the brain can adapt. The Stroke Association is here to support people to rebuild their lives after stroke.  

The Stroke Association has delivered a stroke recovery service in Llanelli and Carmarthen for more than a decade. We support stroke survivors, their families, and carers to rebuild their lives after stroke.