I'm a member of the Side-by-Side Network
I am a patient representative for the Research and Improvement patient and public involvement group, 'Side-by-Side'. Outside of this, I help run the Southampton branch of Different Strokes - a charity specifically aimed at the younger stroke survivor of working age. As a charity we promote independent stroke recovery and help those younger stroke survivors reclaim their lives.
The Side-by-Side group meet monthly to discuss, develop and provide feedback on a range of Research and Improvement activities. One of the most prominent activities that we contribute to is the annual Research and Improvement conference. We work alongside the Research and Improvement team to co-produce the conference, and last year our involvement helped secure the 'Patients Included' accreditation for the event.
My role at Different Strokes is Secretary. I help to manage the group and also to create better partnerships with the local NHS. This not only supports the local NHS but our group has been responsible for changing the younger persons pathway whilst in our local hospital too by taking the patients perspective into account. We host fortnightly meetings for stroke survivors and carers and as we have personal experience of life after stroke this unique insight allows us to deliver information and services that are both relevant and from the heart. As a group we participate in research and are also self funded. One of my roles is to continually be looking at ideas for fundraising.
I had a brain stem stroke in July 2014 at the age of 45. I help run the Southampton branch of Different Strokes - a charity specifically aimed at the younger stroke survivor of working age. As a charity we promote independent stroke recovery and help those younger stroke survivors reclaim their lives.
Why I love being in Side-by-Side
The Side-By-Side group is looking to improve the services of the Trust over time by taking the patients perspective into account. I really enjoy being part of this dynamic group and having had the negative of having a stroke in my mid forties, being able to turn this into a positive by being part of a team trying to create a better NHS for the future is a huge positive personally for me. I feel as a service user I am in a position to comment on many topics. The Research and Improvement team are at the cutting edge of change and we are all passionate about building a better NHS for the future where the patients voice is heard. It’s also a lovely group of people where there is room for honesty, humour and two way conversation.
More about me
Prior to my stroke and for some time afterwards I worked as a Registrar for Births, Deaths and Marriages in Hampshire. I thoroughly enjoyed my job and only left the post as fatigue has been my Achilles Heel since the stroke and I wanted a better quality of life. Outside of my voluntary work I love walking and having more time for my family and to catch up with friends over a decent coffee or glass of wine!