One of the many worrying aspects of Covid has been people not seeking urgent medical attention when required for other conditions. The Stroke Association has reported a decline in the number of people attending hospital with stroke symptoms - which is enormously worrying as early intervention can really help.
Locally, those who have suffered a stroke can join The Phoenix Stroke Club who in a social environment help improve communication and mobility. The Club has been running for over 40 years and having visited them in the past and heard about their ambitious expansion plans it was a pleasure to join their Zoom AGM last week.
Having had to shut their doors last March due to Covid the Club maintained weekly contact with members and carers through phone calls and, when possible, meeting socially distanced.
Following a brilliant fund raising campaign with support from the Friends of Horsham Hospital among others, the Club seized the opportunity to embark on extensive building works to the clubhouse near Forest School, which are now nearing completion. It will be a huge improvement and I am full of admiration for how, during this moment of extreme adversity, the Club have progressed the building project, kept in touch with members and managed to maintain financially sustainability for future years.
It has been a difficult year for charities who have had to cancel many of their fundraising events: events that are vital not only in securing donations but also in increasing awareness of the charities’ vital work.
For Valentines Day, Heads On (the official charity of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust) worked with schools, young people and members of the community to raise mental health awareness. Through their “Hearts of Gold” campaign, they asked young people to decorate hearts of gold to display and have been encouraging everyone to send out Hearts of Gold cards to someone who has shown them a heart of gold during the pandemic or thanking someone who has supported their mental health.
Many peoples’ mental health has taken a real knock over the last year, including among young people who are missing school and feeling anxious about the future. Sussex Partnership and the YMCA Downslink have a shared platform https://e-wellbeing.co.uk/ which young people can use to get help and support for the way they are feeling. The website also has advice and tips for those young people who feel their mental health has been impacted by the pandemic.