aphasia choir, Funding, Press coverage

Bath Aphasia Choir gets funding to help local stroke survivors find their voice again

The Stroke Association has been awarded a grant by St John’s Foundation to continue the charity’s Bath Aphasia Choir.

The choir, which is made up of local stroke survivors with a communication difficulty called aphasia, will be able to continue to meet in Bath every week for the next three years.

On Wednesday 24 October, the choir held their weekly rehearsal at The Chapel of St Michael’s Within to celebrate the funding from St John’s Foundation.

One member of the choir is Stuart Ashman, 65, from Bath. Stuart had a stroke in March 2016 which left him with aphasia. Stuart said: “At the choir I have met lots of people who are my friends. I know the words but my mouth doesn’t always say them. At the choir I watch Laura and I can sing the words or hum the tune. I have watched others say they cannot sing and now I sit with them and hear them sing.”

Liz Jeggo, Support Coordinator at the Stroke Association, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with St John’s Foundation, and thankful for their generosity. After a stroke, around one in three people have difficulty communicating, which can be both terrifying and isolating. But with the right help and support, many stroke survivors are able to find new ways to communicate such as singing, and can rebuild their lives.

“Stroke is life-changing, but we know that the opportunity to meet other people going through a similar experience can really make a difference to the lives of stroke survivors. It’s hugely important that stroke survivors feel supported in their local community and this group helps them on their road to recovery.

“The funding from St John’s Foundation means the choir can continue to be led and developed by the talented trainee music therapist, Laura Cook. We are hoping that with this funding, we can reach even more stroke survivors living with aphasia in Bath. The choir has gone from strength to strength over the years, we have many stroke survivors who come through the door unable to speak, yet can sing. It’s fascinating to see stroke survivors regain their confidence and be part of something really unique together.”

John Thornfield, Funding and Impact Officer at St John’s Foundation, said: “We are delighted to have awarded funding of £5,000 a year to Bath Aphasia Choir until 2021. Their work is unique to Bath and North East Somerset, providing a safe, supportive environment where stroke survivors and their carers can socialise, communicate and feel supported. Their work over the next three years will have a hugely positive impact on the lives of their beneficiaries and we look forward to seeing the project grow and develop with our support.”

The Bath Aphasia Choir meets on Wednesday mornings from 10.30am – 12pm at the Bath Bowling Club, Pulteney Road, Bath BA2 4EZ. If you or someone you know would like to join the choir, please contact us.

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