Open Chest, a charity shop based in March, has donated £1,000 to the March Aphasia Self Help Group to give people with communication difficulties following a stroke the opportunity to socialise.

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The group run by the Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust supports people with Aphasia, a long-term condition where language (includes understanding, speech, reading and writing) is affected following a stroke or brain injury, usually to the left side of the brain.

The cheque was presented by Kathy Dudley, who raises money through her shop Open Chest where donations of stock are received from the public.

Some of the money raised is then put back into the local community.

Mrs Dudley said: “Open Chest regularly donates money to local causes in the Fenland area. We like to be able to put back into the local community in any way we can and when we were approached by the group to see how we could help, we were delighted to raise money for them.”

Elspeth Novice, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust said: “We are delighted to receive this wonderful donation. Their generosity will enable us to purchase more resources for communication work, and copies of ‘The Aphasia Handbook’ to lend to people for information after their stroke.

“Also, for some time we have wanted to recruit a volunteer or two to help run the group and ensure its survival, but until now have not had the resources for their essential training, I hope now that this can be a reality.

“For a number of our patients, this group, which is run at the Braza Club in March, is the only social outlet they have initially, and can be a stepping stone to joining other social groups as their confidence and self-esteem return.

“The group provides valuable support for patients, encouraging and providing language stimulation and helping members to use all of their communication skills such as gesture, drawing and facial expression in addition to the few words they can find.

A Quiz night to help raise funds for MASH is being held at the Braza Club on Friday January 24. If you would like to book a table or if you would like more information about the group, please contact Elspeth Novice on 01354 644242.

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