Diggers Stroke Workshop
We are really excited about our new, innovative and ground-breaking project. With the support of the Stroke Association an innovative pilot project for stroke survivors took place in 2019. The project proved to be incredibly popular and although currently on hold due to Coronavirus, it will be restarting soon.
To provide a positive healing and rehabilitation experience where we can all have fun and form friendships. Thereby, regaining confidence to once again tackle the world, and helping each person to rediscover their own path.
Caroline survived a stroke in September 2013. It was so serious that she nearly died. Her recovery has been slow and difficult; physically, mentally and emotionally. Caroline was in hospital for weeks on end, could not talk for 6 months and lost the use of her right arm and hand.
Caroline, her husband Alex and their children put so much work into her recovery. Physiotherapy, speech therapy, oxygen therapy, a heart operation, weeks of upper limb and speech rehabilitation at Queen Square in London, constant recapping and patience in bucket loads were required. Although Caroline appreciates the support her own family and friends, we know that others aren’t as lucky to have such a good support network.
Before the stroke Caroline ran a very successful and popular forest school club at primary schools. To aid Caroline’s recovery plus make their life run more smoothly, Alex decided to expand the idea of the forest school club and make it into a full-time setting for children aged 20 months to five years. Alex did a remarkable job creating a natural haven for the children in the woods, utilising the stream for water play and creating a little fire pit for cooking.
Eight years on, Caroline says that she owes a huge proportion of her recovery to waking up within the green open space of the South Downs and being involved in Diggers where she is often found in the vegetable garden with the children.
There is so much research now being conducted into the relationship between our recovery and general wellbeing, and being near to accessible green spaces. It is fast being recognised as a method of recovery, the benefits to long term mental health being both positive but more importantly side effect free.
The NHS has supported Caroline to a tremendous extent, but the money and access to care runs out at some point for all of us. Unfortunately, it is usually so early in the recovery process that people feel as though they have been abandoned and left to their own devices. At Diggers we wanted to try to help people through this stage, encouraging some positivity, creating new friendships, and allowing people the space to recover in a safe and warm atmosphere.
If you have survived a stroke or indeed any challenging obstacle in your life, or perhaps you are the relative or carer of someone who has, then please do get in touch with us.
We would also love to hear from anyone who is interested in setting up a similar group perhaps for ex-servicemen suffering from PTSD, cancer survivors or those suffering with long Covid.
Although at times stroke recovery is exhausting and emotionally draining, Caroline would say it has brought new opportunities and given her a new appreciation of being alive. The suffering that she went through has become an inspiration to others close to her, who have had to adjust to a “new” Caroline. Caroline has had a life changing epiphany where she now feels that her role in life is to look after and care for others in a similar position so that their general wellbeing is positive and warm.