Stroke and heart services

A man holds his chest in discomfort.

A man holds his chest in discomfort.

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Stroke is the major cause of disability across Scotland, and in the Western Isles alone nearly 650 people live with its after affect.

Charity Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS) runs stroke services in the area and appeals for volunteers to help.

Coordinator Sonja MacLeod said: “Our Communication Support Services support people who have had a stroke, helping them overcome anxiety about loss of words, lack of confidence, and to reduce the sense of isolation and frustration they face after a stroke.

“The service depends entirely on volunteers. Support is either in the Western Isles hospital, at home, or in a community group, depending on their individual goals. No experience is needed as full training is given and expenses reimbursed.”

A volunteer already offering help is Alison Smith Tunstall from Ballantrushal. Alison has volunteered with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland over three years in a variety of roles.

Alison said; “I started volunteering as a home visitor and found it very rewarding. I was asked to volunteer at one of CHSS’s Affiliated Groups: the Monday Club, which is for people who have had a stroke. I enjoyed it so much I am now the group co-ordinator!

“I had no idea how rewarding being a volunteer would be and how much I would benefit. I look forward to it every week and I know our work goes some way to improving the lives of those we support.”

In the Western Isles there is also help to people living with the effects of heart failure, through CHSS’s Befriending Service.

This debilitating condition can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Western Isles residents able to help are welcome to the team. To find out more please call Sonja MacLeod on tel: 01851 870 969 or email sonja.macleod@chss.org.uk .