Society grant helps local people with communication disability

Society grant helps local
people with communication disability

Published: 27 June 2022

Local charity, Say Aphasia, applied to Darlington Building Society’s 5% Pledge and received £500 to spend on running its vital community group.

Say Aphasia was established in Darlington in October 2021 to raise awareness of the disorder, and to give people with aphasia, in the town, somewhere to meet.

Aphasia is a communication disability which occurs when the language areas of the brain are damaged, often by a stroke or a head injury. It can make using and understanding spoken words very difficult.

Pete Coady, who runs the group, said: “The nearest similar groups are Say Aphasia, in Skipton, and NETA, in Newcastle, which is a long way to travel and becomes costly, so we felt that there was a need for a Say Aphasia group in Darlington.

“Because aphasia affects language – both speaking and finding the right words – some people find it very difficult to deal with, and, as a result, their social interaction is reduced.

“Getting together with other people who are affected means that they can talk to someone who understands what they are going through.”

The group, for aphasia sufferers and their carers, meets on the first Tuesday of the month at St Thomas Aquinas Church, 249 North Rd, Darlington, at 10.30am.

They enjoy a variety of events, such as quizzes, and ‘Word of the Week’ which looks at stories from the news.

“More than 350,000 in the UK have aphasia, but many people haven’t heard of it,” said Pete. “The actor, Bruce Willis, was in the news recently as having been diagnosed with it, so that has raised awareness.

“This grant from the Society will be a massive help to us in organising more activities for our members.”

Pete’s aphasia was diagnosed following a car accident on the North York Moors in 2018, after which he was flown to James Cook Hospital where he spent 11 months recovering.

Like many sufferers, his difficulty with communicating meant that he had to give up his job as a Business Development Executive.

Amy Walker, branch manager at Darlington Building Society, Stockton, supported the application for funding, and said: “Communication is so important to our daily lives, so this disorder has a huge impact on people.

“It can make them feel isolated and depressed, so it’s wonderful that this grant will help them to get out and about, and to improve their social interactions.”

For more information about the Say Aphasia Darlington group can contact Pete at: darlington@sayaphasia.org

To apply to Darlington Building Society’s 5% Pledge through the CDCF portal, please visit: www.darlington.co.uk/our-community