We went along to the Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours Scheme, which is one of the 37 neighbourhood network schemes throughout Leeds to find what they do for older people who have suffered from a stroke. We met Claire Lovatt, Project Worker and Richard one of their members. Claire told us about the scheme and Richard shared his experiences, as someone who has suffered from several strokes.
Tell us a about what Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours Scheme does?
Claire: We are open to anyone over 60 years old and encourage people to come along to make friends and take part in the activities which include art classes, drop in sessions and walking groups. Our members are very proud of their scheme and really make the atmosphere. They are very friendly and it is informal, which gives people the confidence to attend the groups and activities.
Richard: I am a member of the scheme and I attend several activities as well as offering support when I can. I enjoy coming as everyone makes you feel welcome as soon as you arrive – I feel accepted.
Due to suffering from five strokes I have some dexterity problems but this hasn’t stopped me taking part in the art class on a Friday. In fact, the classes and the expert tuition have really helped me to improve.
It’s Action on Stroke Month, how does Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours Scheme help raise awareness about stroke and how it can affect people?
Claire: We have several people that attend the group that have been affected by stroke, some more severely than others. They sometimes worry about coming to the activities especially if their speech has been affected. Our members are very considerate of each other; they’re patient when talking to each other and always include everyone. They can relate to each other as most people have some difficulties, whether it is speaking problems, being hard of hearing or having mobility issues. It can be very unsettling for someone, especially if it is something they could do before they had the stroke but now can’t do, but most members understand as they may have been through something similar.
We have a good relationship with the Stroke Association and we can refer people to them and they also let us know of people in our area that might benefit from coming to one of our sessions. The Stoke Association does regular talks and provides posters and leaflets for our members, such as information on the F.A.S.T. campaign; they even came to our valentine fair and provided free blood pressure checks.
Richard: I was very reluctant to come along to start with, I was nervous about mixing with people I didn’t know. Once I came to the sessions, I realised how friendly everyone was and they made me feel very welcome and they’re like an extended family. The drop in sessions are very good and pass on useful information about subjects that mean something to the members. It was good to have a chance to talk to the Stroke Association as they can offer a lot of advice and can even come out and do an assessment to make sure you have everything you need.
Richard, could you tell us what difference the Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours scheme had made for you?
Richard: After my strokes, I struggled at home as I no longer had the strength to lift heavy items. I found it difficult to keep up with the maintenance and cleaning of my home. The scheme helped me to get a home help and also helped me get central heating. If it wasn’t for the scheme I would still be at home on my own, staring at the same four walls – they have brought me back to life!
Getting in touch
Address: Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours Scheme, Station Road, Cross Gates, Leeds, LS15 7JY
Phone Number: 0113 260 6565
Fax Number: 0113 390 9600
Many thanks to Claire and Richard from Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours Scheme for their warm welcome and sharing their thoughts and experiences with us.