About Us

Through active self-help and mutual support, our aim is to help stroke survivors of working age optimise their recovery, take control of their lives and regain as much independence as possible, including returning to work.

Want to volunteer?

We have volunteers in our group, and are always very keen for new people to come and use their skills to help us manage and organise the group. In so doing they will also gain experience, while helping us, that might help them in their own way recover from a stroke. However, you don't have to be a stroke survivor to volunteer here.

Contact John

John Murray, Coordinator
Tel 0775 241 3223

Autoplay is

I am the Coordinator at the moment and I deal with the funders and the organisers of the spaces we use. I first joined Different Strokes as a volunteer in 2003 when I had a gap in my work. I had already met Donal O’Kelly, the founder of Different Strokes, in 1994 shortly after I had my stroke. I was volunteering at the Stroke Association at the time, where I spoke to other stroke survivors about their experiences and encouraged them to get better.

I started supporting Different Strokes in between work projects in 2003 and I applied and joined the group closest to where I live, in Tottenham. After a while, I became Secretary and worked with administrative tasks. Eventually I became Co-ordinator and had that role for 5 years. After that I felt it was time to stand down. My successor as Coordinator was Chris Addison, a former social worker. But she was unable to continue and in due course I became the Coordinator again.

Contact Coralie

Coralie Dufour, Exercise tutor
Tel 077 123 4567

Autoplay is

My name is Coralie. At the moment I am looking after this stroke group — Exercise for Stroke.

I teach posture alignment and pilates. I also teach other types of rehabilitation. Any type of exercise such as: bootcamp, plyometric, aerobic, aqua-aerobic relaxation, aroma therapy and massage. I also do head, hands and knee massage.

Contact Pat

Pat Walters, Chi Kung tutor
Tel 077 123 4567

Autoplay is

I’m Pat Walters, and I teach Tai Chi and Chi Kung.

I started studying about 25 years ago, and I’ve been teaching with Different Strokes for the last 8 years. I studied Tai Chi in London, at City Lit in 1992. I studied Yang short form with Glen Williams and John Eastman.

This is one of the most popular Tai Chi forms that have been taught in the West in the last few decades. I still continue to study, because it’s a never-ending art.

Autoplay is

Hello, my name is Raymond Watts.

My role at Different Strokes North London is to help set things up and make sure everyone has chairs, and do some of the more physical activities — because I have retained some physical ability.

I got involved about a year ago, after suffering a stroke myself in 2013. Although I made most of the recovery, there is still some residual disability. I find that the group and the classes I attend help me to remain some strength and balance in my affected side. It also helps with relaxation techniques, and it’s an opportunity to get together with other people. To socialise and ask questions and find out about treatments and different ways of helping people, and getting help myself. It’s a nice reminder that you’re not alone, because it can be very difficult after leaving the hospital, where you get very intensive treatment and then you go home and there is nothing for months. At Different Strokes there is some activity here at least twice a week.

The committee

Committee roles and responsibilities as of 20 August 2016

Eunice Awolaja, Employment Coordinator

Advises and supports members seeking employment

020 8802 5672

Danny Beechaw, Exercise Class Representative

Represents interests of Exercise class participants

0795 043 8226

Lucy Ibarra, Volunteer Accountant, Treasurer

Responsible for the group’s finances, keeping track of Petty Cash and Bank balance and for submitting quarterly Regional Balance Sheets to Central Services

Hilary Marks, Deputy Coordinator

Deputises in absence of co-ordinator

07886 857 911

Cathy Marvel, Petty Cash and Social Organiser

Responsible for controlling petty cash for all activities, paying tutors, buying food and arranging before meetings, arranging social events

020 8807 6460

John Murray, Coordinator

Main point of contact for the group and for Central Services. Responsible for the group and the committee. Administration of group, minutes, reports, letters, etc. Keeping up to date record of members. Liaising with members and funders as required

0775 241 3223

Myra Pompey, Chi Kung Class Representative

Represents interests of Chi Kung class participants

07950 332 872

Raymond Watts, Membership Secretary

Keeping up to date record of members. Liaising with members and tutors as required

0787 605 4103

Find stroke support elsewhere
If you are outside of North London

If you are outside our working area, you can find other Different Strokes groups on their website.

Different Strokes was founded as a charity in 1996 specifically to support stroke survivors of working age. (Charity No 1092168). Different Strokes nationally participates in wider research and policy relating to young stroke survivors and has a network of 45 Stroke Groups throughout the UK.

Where we fit into the big picture
Our role in contributing to the UK Stroke Strategy

In 2007 representatives of Different Strokes participated in a committee together with the members of the NHS, North Middlesex Hospital, GPs and other stroke charities to infrom Haringey Council's Scrutiny Review into Stroke Prevention.

The committee produced a comprehensive report, which identified key data about stroke locally and areas for future action. The report has infromed the UK Stroke Strategy on key issues and facts in terms of the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of strokes.

We advocate for increased stroke awareness!

Stroke is the third biggest cause of death in the UK and the largest single cause of severe disability. Each year more than 150,000 people will suffer from a stroke, about 25% of these will be working-age (younger than 65 years).

However, a lack of awareness of stroke signs and its potential consequences is a significant problem. Most people do not know what a stroke is, what the symptoms are, or that it is a treatable disease that warrants the same response as a heart attack. Nor do they know what their own risk of having a stroke is, how to reduce that risk, or that stroke is largely preventable.

Knowledge about stroke can be low even among health and social care professionals.

Important facts about stroke
  • Stroke needs immediate medical attention
  • Women tend to end up with a more complicated recovery after a stroke and are more likly to die from a stroke compared to men
The risk of stroke is higher in:
  • People who are overweight or obese and who also have high blood pressure
  • People who are economically disadvantaged (as well as heart disease and other related diseases)
  • People of African or Caribbean ethnicity compared to white ethnicity
  • Men, by the age of 75 years, compared to women
Among the general public:
  • Only half of people asked could correctly identify a stroke
  • Fewer (40%) were able to name three stroke symptoms
  • A quarter did not believe that any specialised treatment or care could make a difference
Among healthcare professionals
  • Just over half of GPs said they would refer someone with a suspected stroke immediately
  • Nearly one in five GPs said they do not refer around a fifth of cases of a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or stroke

For references and further information, see the Department of Health’s National Stroke Strategy stroke strategy

Our history

The London North Group of Different Strokes was established in 2001 by a group of younger stroke survivors from Tottenham. Since then, the group has steadily increased in size, from 30 in 2003, to over 160 in 2016.

Haringey Integrated Community Therapy Team transfers stroke survivors to our group following the support they receive after leaving hospital. Working age stroke survivors are always welcome. The Group is based in the Winkfield Centre, Wood Green and serves North London. Exercise classes and Massage are based at the New River Community Sports Centre, White Hart Lane, N22 5QW. Activities are funded by Haringey Adult Learning Service (HALS). Around 15–20 people take part in each class every week, giving a total of 60–80 every week.