A stroke survivor has said he would have died without the support of a charity.
Stephen Hall, 53, of St Leonards, was the founder of several international companies and his business partner for one was James Caan, from Dragon’s Den.
He was constantly travelling for work overseas and working up to 70 hours a week.
But the father-of-two’s life was turned upside down when he had a stroke in 2015 and was rushed to Eastbourne DGH. He had to stop working and with that came a shocking struggle with the benefits system, which consequently made him homeless in February 2016.
While homeless, Stephen went on to have another more devastating stroke because of the stress and anxiety over his living situation.
The Stroke Association found out about Stephen’s story and helped him.
However last September, Stephen had a brain haemorrhage, which left him paralysed on one side of his body, memory loss, a communication difficulty called aphasia, and mobility issues.
Stephen said: “The Stroke Association was my lifeline. Without them, I’d be dead. East Sussex County Council (ESCC) shouldn’t be talking about how much money to take from the association. I was very lucky to have good stroke consultants at the hospital in Eastbourne. The care I received there put me in touch with the Stroke Association.”
He also thanked Hastings MP Amber Rudd for her help when his benefits were stopped. He said: “She took the time out to look after me and the benefits were reinstated. She was fantastic.”
Tara Galloway, head of stroke support for the Stroke Association, said: “Stroke is cruel. It strikes in an instant and its devastating effects can last a lifetime. We supported Stephen after he was discharged from hospital. Our local stroke co-ordinator gave him advice and support, and when he needed urgent financial support after being made homeless, we were able to offer Stephen a Life After Stroke Grant.
“When we were told in January the county council was considering the cessation of £80,000 of funding for the Stroke Association’s support services in the county, we were shocked and appalled. If this funding is withdrawn, the association’s vital support will all come to an end in June. Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the UK, and our services have helped thousands of people to cope with the massive and sudden impact this condition brings. Stephen’s case is an example of how the support we provide helps people to live independently in their own homes as they rebuild their lives after a stroke.”
The county council launched a public consultation in February into proposals to cut almost £10m from its adult social care budget. The consultation closed last Wednesday (April 25). Proposals include reviewing county council funding for services delivered by the Stroke Association and reducing the council’s contribution to carer services.
When the consultation was launched, Cllr Carl Maynard, the council’s lead member for adult social care and health, said: “We are in the eighth year of spending cuts and what we do spend we need to focus very, very carefully on the most vulnerable and those with the greatest need.”
Stephen is holding a fundraising fishing event from June 2 to 9 at Orchard Place in Paddock Wood in aid of the Stroke Association.