It is traditional at this time of the year to reflect on the year and I am sure you will all have a lot of things to digest over the last 12 months.
There were many important lessons, and it is perhaps worth noting that everyone was affected one way or another by the pandemic. Many people remarked that the many barriers and isolation they experience daily were suddenly noticed by the population at large. However, during this time the consequences for disabled and isolated people became magnified many times over. I don’t wish to dwell further on the passing year other than to say beware of short memories. Lessons learned may also be lessons swiftly forgotten.
I prefer to focus on 2021 and to what can be achieved in the coming months ahead and what changes we can expect to see. I would also like to add that despite all the technology, health developments and printing of billions of pounds, it will be simple kindness that makes the difference in the year ahead.
We have seen hard times show us the best and worse in ourselves and communities have experienced both division and coming together at the same time. This is nothing new, but we can build on the good and try to heal the harm.
It is fair to say that we have had to adapt because of the pandemic and what should have been a very successful 12 months in terms of drop-in numbers we have been showing real endeavour by taking the initiative to organise zoom meetings and other online mediums and we will continue to do so and look at other areas where we can champion inclusion and support.
StrokeInformation as an organisation, of people is growing and reaching out to the unreachable and forgotten voices in our society entering a New Year and a new era, whereby stroke care and rehabilitation will be forced into a community led relationship. Having the foresight to embrace the technology we will be able to really provide StrokeInformation Peer Support across the globe.
Last year we announced getting stroke survivors back into work, whilst one of these survivors moved back to Perth, WA, I am pleased to say we gave him the support initially which has now led to his newly found confidence to land himself a new role over there in Australia. As our model of WE CARE BECAUSE WEVE BEEN THERE works and is really successful, we intend to build on the experience and develop a variety of options which gives disabled and marginalised people who have been impacted by stroke more choice and opportunities.
In addition, while other support groups have scaled back and even closed, we will remain as a flagship service and despite the interruptions of the pandemic, we intend to continue to grow our outreach and community services in many directions and variations. Finally, if we are lucky, we will continue our relationship with Disability Stockport and should they find a way to fund their planned build of a new community services floor at the High St premises. This would be a big step towards achieving our goals above and moving towards the next stage over the overall plan.
I wish to finish by thanking everyone who has contributed this last year and beyond. The volunteers, families, friends, and professionals. We have had direct support from others in the worst of situations, practical and political support from our councilor’s and their officers. Great teamwork with partners. Disability Stockport, The Local Media Partnership and other funders have been vital contributors to our delivering more support at the most difficult times. Our core team members have been the very best and the board of trustees’ dynamic in their support.
I am immensely proud of the team and the fact that many people we have helped have come on board and helped us to help others. I can think of nothing more rewarding. Please have a safe remainder of the Christmas Period and good health in the year ahead. Remember, kindness will be the biggest help. Look for it, nurture it and demonstrate it.
I simply like the fact that we are able to help others who find themselves where we once were and is the main ethos of the organisation and does, what it can to assist people in those situations, whoever they are. We continue to strive to get the stroke survivor back into some form of normality and have a sense of worth once more.
I always look forward to my visits to our High Street office, and always feel welcomed by everyone I come into contact with. I would like to thank the Board, the directors, volunteers for making this organisation something to be proud of, and long may it continue.
Finally, my door is always open, so if you need to ask something, advice, support, moan, whinge or even just say hi then dont be a stranger, StrokeInformation is and will be always be here for you.
keep Strong, stay well, remain safe
God Bless, Nick