Living with Aphasia is a charity that helps people with aphasia in Devon.
We are passionate about making a difference to the lives of people living with this isolating and frustrating condition.
Our group started over ten years ago as a NHS Conversation Group run by the Exeter, East and Mid Devon speech and language therapy department. Nicola Harding, head of speech and language therapy, recognized the need for a space where people could come for support and good conversation with others who understood about aphasia.
However, due to the pressures of time and resources the group began to struggle to keep going and numbers were declining. The remaining members of the group felt strongly that the group should go on – it was a valuable part of their life. The group was moved to a more central location in Exeter and numbers started to grow again yet the NHS support remained difficult to sustain.
Nicola recognised that things needed to change. The people in the group wanted to keep going and spread the word about aphasia in the community. They wanted to keep up the fantastic support and friendships that they were getting from the group. Sandhy Robinson, who had aphasia and Barbara Chalk, a retired speech and language therapist, saw that too. Together they listened to what people with aphasia wanted.
In 2017 after enlisted the help of some fabulous trustees (including Nicola) the group was officially launched as a charity. It has gone from strength to strength continuing to build on what people with aphasia want. As well as our Drop In we have set up a Sing Aphasia, and built on awareness.
Mostly we have continued to have fun and make friendships – learning from each other on how to live with aphasia successfully.
“It’s a friendly place for a good chat and social activities”
Photos courtesy of Paula Fernley photography