Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


InterAct Stroke Support are an award winning charity that take professional actors into hospitals and read to stroke survivors. The aim is to alleviate depression, stimulate memory and language and thus encourage rehabiliation and early discharge from hospital. The reason for using professionally trained actors is that they have:
• The dramatic skills to hold the concentration of somebody who is not only unwell but also in the hospital environment.
• The vocal stamina to sustain long periods of reading.
• The antennae to respond to unspoken reactions from the patients
• The technique to read for lengthy periods of time.
They will sit with a patient, talking, reading and listening, the length of time spent on any one individual depending on the patient's wishes. We make every effort to provide reading material that will stimulate patients from every walk of life.

Project Need. Stroke is the 3rd biggest killer in the UK and the number 1 cause of severe disability in the UK and the 2nd leading cause of death in the world, yet the profile of stroke is still very low in the UK. Occupational and speech therapists have found patients are more enclined to engage with other hospital interventions after they have worked with InterAct. Stroke patients spend a considerable period of their hospital time alone, with little interaction with others. This is one of the factors that precipitates over 71% of stroke patients suffering from depression as a consequence of their stroke and their hospital experience.

Our work compliments that of occupational and speech therapists. At present we work in England and Scotland and we wish to deliver our award winnng service to Wales in Cardiff at the Stroke Rehabiliation Centre. We would deliver 3 two hour sessions at the centre per week for one year. Additional to this hospital work, we wish to work with stroke survivors in the community setting, developing a creative project with them over a period of 8 weeks. Previous projects have included versions of Desert Islands Discs, an Oral History project, a drama project where stroke survivors have created their own play to be performed, a poetry and new writing project where stroke survivors create their own work to be performed, all faciliated by our professional actors. Professor of Stroke Medicine Lalit Kalra, had the following to say about our work. "Studies have shown that patients on stroke units spend more than 50% time of their in bed, 28% sitting out of bed, 13% in therapeutic activities and are alone for 60% of the time during the therapeutic day. Even more worrying is the finding that despite the greatest amount of therapy resources being committed to stroke rehabilitation in the UK compared with other centres in Europe (70 hours/week), stroke patients received the least amount of therapy input (1 hour/day) compared with others. The challenge is to adopt strategies that make better use of patients' time on stroke units by encouraging participation in activities that build upon and consolidate the therapy input provided by health care professionals with social and community reintegration activities. In that context, INTERACT readers play an important role in engaging and enabling patients, promoting participation with rehabilitation and facilitating return to the community. Many stroke patients with speech impairments have low confidence and poor perception of self-worth in social situations. INTERACT readers encourage communication, developing lost reading and comprehension skills and provide an opportunity for patients to experiment with speech and sounds in a less threatening environment. There is emerging evidence to show that such informal inputs, which challenge patients to experiment with impaired functions, accelerate recovery, probably by improving the physical, psychological and social milieu of individual patients." Our work therefore makes a positive active difference to stroke patients.

Project Video

InterAct Stroke Support

Moment of Pride

"This is better that 4 months of Medicine" - quote from a Stroke patient. We are an award winning charity. We won Best New Charity, two Tesco Community awards, a GlaxoSmithKline Impact award, a Guardian newspaper Charity award. Our work improves the lives of the much ignored stroke community.

Location: Cardiff