Support group helps people recovering from a stroke in Bath and North East Somerset

Virgin Care has launched a new support group – funded by its Feel the Difference Fund – for people from Bath and North East Somerset who have communication issues after a stroke.

The choir, which has been running since November, is helping people suffering from communication difficulties – known as aphasia – improve their quality of life through singing in a supportive group environment, as most people with aphasia can sing despite not being able to speak.

The Community Neurorehabilitation and Stroke Service, a music therapy student from the University of the West of England and the local Stroke Association charity have provided the support.

Funding will be used to continue to employ a music therapist and run the session in an appropriate space going forward.

Virgin Care funded the choir through its Feel the Difference Fund. The fund is a dedicated £100,000 a year that’s made available for projects designed and delivered by frontline colleagues which help patients, communities and staff to ‘Feel the Difference’. The team received £600 from the fund for the scheme.

Research has shown choirs for people with aphasia to have positive benefits for people. We’ve seen our first group’s confidence grow since we started, and we cannot wait to help more people in the future.

Kirsty Matthews, Managing Director of Bath and North East Somerset Community Health and Care Services for Virgin Care, said: “I’m pleased our colleagues and a local student therapist have jointly worked with each other to put the choir together, but it would not have been possible without the funding made available.”

Virgin Care has delivered community health and care services in Bath and North Somerset since April 2017, on behalf of the local council and the NHS. Its plan for the services over the next seven years includes providing a more joined-up health and social care service focused on helping people stay well with extra support in the community, avoiding unnecessary visits to hospital.

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