A service which provides vital help to people with epilepsy is hoping more will come forward.
Each week, the Hartlepool-based Epilepsy Outlook group holds user-led drop-in sessions. So far, they have always been held on a Monday from noon to 4pm at the charity’s base in The Arches in Park Road.
But operations manager Jacqui Gettings said: “It is growing. We are going to expand it because it is so popular. It is somewhere where people who are feeling isolated can go. They might have a game of bingo, play board games or just have a chat and natter.” Family members and carers can also come along. Further sessions are now being planned on a Wednesday and possibly on another day in the week.
Hartlepool has around 700 people who are living with epilepsy. Nearly 300 have uncontrolled epilepsy which is classed as the continued occurrence of an unacceptable quantity of seizures despite reasonable treatment.
Jacqui is hoping more people, particularly those with uncontrolled epilepsy, will come forward.
“They are trapped,” she said, “but they could be part of something bigger. They could be part of a community. They could make friends and they could talk to other people.”
She had a message for anyone full of doubts about whether they should come forward, with a problem they have had for years.
“If it is not controlled and if you have had it for five years, why not come and talk to someone who has had this for 30 years. This is giving you the opportunity to speak to someone, to find out how they have coped – how they have managed their condition and lived their life.”
The sessions will have a strong emphasis on safely supporting people within their own boundaries, and helping them to build their confidence. Jacqui added: “Sometimes people are embarrassed when they have a seizure but everyone that uses this centre is an epilepsy centre and we are not going to make a fuss.
To find out more about Epilepsy Outlook and what it can offer, contact (01429) 297 007.