Words from our founder, Colin Lyall:

" I am pleased to see the that our 11 drop in groups are running smoothly after the hurdles of the pandemic. I know all our service users were delighted when we re-opened our face-to-face groups, and a lot of people were also pleased that the online Zoom groups are here to stay.

As 10 of our groups are run by people with aphasia, we have a monthly Peer Leader Support Group, which does exactly that - support our peer leaders; the people who run each group.

Our Peer Leader Support Groups have been great because it allows each peer leader to share their successes from each week, as well as any concerns. These monthly meetings allows us to evaluate the service we provide, to make sure we are supporting people with aphasia as best we can."

Latest Updates from our Drop in Groups

Say Aphasia Skipton

The Say Aphasia Skipton group has been continuing its monthly meetings at The Hub, Skipton Town Hall with a few new faces regularly coming along.

In January, Mark, Peer Leader at Skipton, was excited to install his augmented reality art exhibition in the event display cases at Skipton Town Hall. The art posters aim to raise awareness of aphasia and promote the Say Aphasia charity.

Mark is currently working on another augmented reality art exhibition to be held at The Art Studio, Ilkley Manor House from 2nd - 3rd April 2022. This will be a bigger exhibition, featuring larger art posters and his entries to
Grayson's Art Club on Channel 4, the new season which starts on 18th March 2022. Mark is keeping his fingers crossed that his aphasia art may feature in one of Grayson exhibitions!

Mark and Caroline have been extremely busy and have done a great job promoting it in the press!

Say Aphasia Darlington

The new Say Aphasia Darlington group has been meeting monthly since October 2021 and its Peer Leader, Pete Coady, have been busy meeting up with staff from the Darlington Building Society, which has provided a small grant to support Pete's Darlington group. Inspired by Pete's life story, Darlington Building Society are also keen to provide volunteers for the group meetings.    

Pete is also working with a SLT Lecturer at Newcastle University and SLT from Darlington Memorial Hospital who are keen to refer people to the Darlington Say Aphasia group.   

We are all impressed by Pete's optimism, enthusiasm and PMA (Positive Mental Attitude)...Go Pete!! 

Say Aphasia Chichester

David, our peer leader at the Chichester group, organised their first pottery class. It went so well that they are doing it again next month!

We are continuing to attract new people at all our groups, and we aim to arrange more art classes for each group



Zooming Great... has been blooming great!

Say Aphasia always aims to support people with aphasia as much as we can. When we saw that not everyone could access our online support groups, we wanted to change that!

Firle Beckley, who has been part of Say Aphasia for a year now, has been piloting the 'Zooming Great' workshops. The aim of these workshops is to help people to get online and become confident using software such as Zoom and to take part in video calls with friends and family. These are people who either don't know how to get online and use video calls, or do not have the technology to do so.

Firle tells us how well it is going so far:

We are now over half way through our pilot digital inclusion project "Zooming Great". We have seen the confidence and independence of some of our group members really grow, as people have tackled a new skill and attended the group without a friend or carer present. Last week we had three of our four members join our zoom meeting without any help, and use the annotate function.

As one of our member's Pat said (and wrote on the screen) "Got-it!" 

Together, we've had great fun talking about holidays past (and future...) using Zoom as a way of sharing photos, opinions and jokes when face to face, as well as from home. 

We'd just like to say a huge thank you to our funders for the opportunity to carry out this project: Sussex Community Fund, Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust and AVIVA Community Fund . Also a big thanks to TechResort for their knowledge, space and fab TechElves, as well as Kate Whiteman for making what is quite a scary prospect (finally tackling how to use your tablet or laptop) such a creative and fun experience!

If you'd like to find out more about Zooming Great please follow our blog here.

Speech Therapy program comes to an end... (for now).

For the last two years, we ran a speech therapy service for people with aphasia who were on a long NHS wait list, or didn't have access to speech therapy near where they live. Thankfully, we received funding from The National Lottery Community Fund and Sussex Community Foundation to provide our own Speech and Language Therapy with trusted professionals.

By relieving patients from the long NHS waitlist, meant that they did not have to go through prolonged periods of confusion, frustration, loneliness and depression, while they wait for help. Instead, they were able to access speech and language therapy quickly through Say Aphasia, and gain the skills needed to help with recovery.

We have seen that when people with aphasia receive ongoing help to understand their condition, they are more likely to be alleviated from feelings of confusion and frustration.

Speech and language therapy helps people with aphasia re-learn certain skills to help them communicate the best way they can, and the sooner they have these skills, the sooner they will lead a better quality of life with aphasia. This is why Say Aphasia are so pleased to have been able to offer this service, especially during the pandemic.

Thank you Say Aphasia for the funded sessions, xx has little speech and with no NHS service available we were really struggling. This support has meant so much to us and the progress xx has made is fantastic! Thank you.

One of the speech therapists who we worked with, told us some of the things her clients achieved after receiving therapy through Say Aphasia:

- started a cookery course at college,

- made contact with their employer to discuss returning to work in the future,

- connected with young people who had a stroke,

- re-referred to physiotherapy,

- achieved sentences with clear articulation.

We are so pleased to say that we were able to help everyone with their aphasia recovery, and those who needed it were referred on to further support.

We would like to thank all the speech and language therapists who worked with us.

UTILISE Research Project at UCL

Colin has been taking part in more research at UCL (University College London). This project called UTILISE, is for people who have aphasia, following a stroke, who have difficulties understanding and producing sentences.

If you are interested and would like to know more, then check out their webpage for more information, and contact Fern or Claudia by email or telephone.

Miss Fern Rodgers: [email protected] 020 7679 5785

Dr Claudia Bruns: [email protected] 020 7679 4292

An update from the UTILISE study team:
"We are thrilled to announce that we are extending UTILISE until March 2023! After COVID-19 put our project on pause for more than a year, we are very grateful to our funder, The Stroke Association, for agreeing to extend our research. This means we will be able to recruit more participants and collect more data."

More exciting news from Utilise!
"After receiving a Therapeutic Accelerator Scheme award, we are excited to share the news of our collaboration with Therapy Box.
The Therapy Box team are working with us to develop our therapy software into an app, to improve user experience and enable remote therapy delivery. We hope that this will make UTILISE more widely available, and we can’t wait to share more
with you in the coming months. Watch this space!"

Read more about Therapy Box and their terrific work here.

Research at City University of London

Colin is continuing working with the steering committee for a research project at City University of London which will take a couple of years to complete. 

Do you have aphasia and want to take part in a new study to help families have conversations again? 

City University of London are looking for people with aphasia, and family members of people with aphasia who live in London, Derbyshire, or Yorkshire

We are waiting for ethical approval, but we are confident this study will go ahead in Spring 2022.

If you want to know more, or you want to register your interest, please contact a member of our team, Dr Madeline Cruice: email [email protected]

Click here to contact City University


Our aim for 2022 is to ask as many of our members as possible about our services, to help us understand what we are doing well, what we could do better and anything new we could be doing that we just haven’t thought of.