Think Ahead Stroke has taken its popular pub-themed support group online, as it launches new ways to support stroke survivors across the Borough during the Coronavirus lockdown.

Think Ahead Stroke opened The Tavern doors in 2019, as a weekly meeting space for male stroke survivors who still want to enjoy the fun and relaxation of meeting down the local, but can no longer visit the pub.

Meeting every Tuesday afternoon, The Tavern has steadily grown in popularity, with increasing regulars calling in each week to meet, catch-up, and take part in traditional pub games, such as quizzes, pool and video and board games.

Think Ahead Stroke’s Activities and Events Officer Alex Yoxall explains: “Because The Tavern has proved such a hit with the punters, we really wanted to find a way of keeping everyone in touch throughout social distancing, as the lads obviously can’t meet in person.

“So The Tavern is now on online video platform Zoom. It was a bit of a technical challenge to setup, as everyone’s at different levels of technical ability, but we had our first virtual Tavern session online at our usual time on Tuesday at 1.30pm.

“We launched The Tavern because we felt that male stroke survivors and their carers needed their own space to meet and socialise, particularly as men are often at greater risk of the ill-effects of social isolation and loneliness.”

Tavern regular and ‘chief punter’ Barry Smith from Whelley said: “It was great just to see everyone’s faces again, and just catch up and have a laugh with all the lads. I’ve missed seeing them.

“It’s so hard for everyone having to stay at home, particularly stroke survivors, many of which are classified as vulnerable, or have reduced mobility and can’t get out and about – so The Tavern has become something of a social lifeline.

“This week was just a bit of a fun catch-up, but there’s talk of themed pub quizzes, games and even a fancy dress week – the mind boggles! But I’m sure there’s lots we can do.”

Alex agrees: “Now we’re up and running and online we hope to gradually grow the Tavern to include new strokes or TIAs (mini strokes) survivors and carers, and grow our regulars. We’ll also be setting up online versions of some of our other popular classes.   

“If The Online Tavern sounds of interest then please email me at [email protected] – or visit our website at – we’d love to hear from you.”