WINCHESTER'S Liberal Democrat election candidate recently met members of an aphasia support group. 

Danny Chambers spent time finding out more about the condition from members of Say Aphasia at St Peter’s Church on Monday, February 19. 

Aphasia is a communication disability that is usually caused when a stroke, brain haemorrhage, head injury or a brain tumour affects the communication centres of the brain. 

The condition can make it difficult to read, write or speak. Say Aphasia helps people adapt to their new way of life and regain their independence.

Jez Hodgkinson, from Say Aphasia Winchester, said: “Aphasia affects about 350,000 people in the UK, and is more common than Parkinson’s Disease, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. However, most people have never heard of it.

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“Learning to live with aphasia takes hard work, luck and lots of support - and this isn’t helped by the lack of knowledge of the condition. I’d never actually heard of aphasia until I had a stroke so hence it’s so important to share our stories both inside the group and with the wider public - including those with a voice in parliament.”

Mr Hodgkinson founded the local Say Aphasia group in October 2021 after finding that the nearest meetings were in Chichester or Brighton. A year later he was joined by fellow peer-leader, Lloyd Brammer, who said: “Jez and I run our group as Peer Leaders, but all of us have suffered strokes or brain conditions with varying challenges of our own. This is why having a group of people in a similar position can be so helpful.” 

Mr Chambers said: “It was an honour to join the group to see and hear how powerful it can be to have supportive spaces for people affected by aphasia. Our ability to communicate underpins almost every part of our lives and, for sufferers of strokes and other brain conditions, the struggle to speak and to be heard has a profound impact.

“My own father suffered from aphasia after a series of transient ischaemic attacks (mini strokes), so I know first-hand how frustrating it can be for someone to know exactly what they want to say but then struggle to communicate it. It was inspirational to meet this determined group of people and I’m honoured to be able to raise awareness of what Say Aphasia is doing nationally and here in our city. Jez and Lloyd have created an incredibly valuable community.”

The group has around 30 members and meets every other Monday at 10am at the Parish of St Peter, Pastoral Centre, Jewry Street.

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