Bromley charity launches drop-in centre for people with communication disability
PUBLISHED: 16:03 05 April 2016 | UPDATED: 12:09 08 April 2016
The group has been set up to help people with a 'hidden disability' known as aphasia
A drop-in centre for people with a communication disability has been set up in Bromley after a £12,000 fundraising campaign.
UK-based charity Connect launched the group, which helps people with aphasia, on March 15 at the Bromley United Reform Church.
Aphasia is usually caused by a stroke or head injury, and it is thought to affect around 367,000 people in the UK - more than Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis combined.
Talking, listening and understanding, reading, writing and using numbers can all be affected by the condition, which may lead to isolation, frustration and depression.
Although aphasia is relatively common, it is classed as a ‘hidden disability’, as few people are aware of its existence.
Connect outreach coordinatior Bonnie Studd explained: “Each person experiences aphasia very differently. It can have a massive impact on a person’s day-to-day living - things like catching a bus or going to the shops can lead to a lot of anxiety.
“For some people it can improve, but for others it is more a matter of planning to live with aphasia.”
“A lot of people with aphasia are of working age but because of their difficulties they may not be able to go back to work.”
Ms Studd explained that the drop-in centre will provide a relaxing environment where people can meet others with the condition.
“Our centres are led by people with aphasia, which helps to give people a role and empowers them. There are volunteers and staff there to support the work they do.”
Connect was selected as the Mayor of Bromley’s charity last year and are one of current mayor Kim Botting’s charities.
Councillor Botting and former mayor Julian Bennington will visit the group on Tuesday April 19 to meet the group members.
Some £12,000 was raised during 2015 and fundraising events are continuing to attract support.