Thursday 23 May 2024
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New accessible bench on the Nottingham and Beeston Canal for stroke survivors

A special bench designed by local people to raise awareness and be accessible to the survivors of strokes, created by engineering students from Nottingham College has been installed alongside the Nottingham & Beeston Canal.

The bench has been commissioned by waterways and wellbeing charity, the Canal & River Trust, to give local people the opportunity to stop and enjoy some relaxing time by the canal.

The bench has been created through a collaboration with The Stroke Association, which saw local stroke survivors working together on the design, and Nottingham BID who have provided sponsorship.

The design includes three seats and space for two wheelchairs, as well as information on the FAST* test which shows how to quickly spot the signs of a stroke.

Stroke Bench plaque scaled

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The bench is being installed next to the Nottingham & Beeston Canal at Castle Wharf, enabling people to sit by the water and take in the sights and sounds of the canal.

Students from Nottingham College, along with staff from the engineering department, then made a start on bringing the design to life, producing 3D printed concepts before getting started on fabricating the bench in their workshop.

The seat was commissioned through the work of the Nottingham Canal Improvement Partnership with a series of community consultation events being held to find out what improvements local people would like to see made to the canal.

As part of the design process the stroke survivors worked on a number of prototypes before deciding on the final design.

Scott Miller, from the Canal & River Trust, said: “The new bench looks fantastic and it’s great to see it in position by the canal, ready to be used by people enjoying some relaxing time by the water.

“Research shows that time spent by water is good for our physical and mental health and we hope that this new bench will encourage more people to pause and enjoy time by the canal.

“The canal is for everyone and we’re so pleased to have worked with the local community, The Stroke Association and students from Nottingham College to install this bench which we hope will bring enjoyment to many.”

Lesley Valentine, Faculty Area Manager for Engineering at Nottingham College is proud of the part the College’s Engineering department have played in the project.

She said: “This has been a valuable experience for our students who are all very proud to have played a part.

“This live brief project saw a lot of collaboration, not only from across our engineering department, but also with stroke survivors, The Stroke Association and the Canal & River Trust, to ensure the bench design was accessible and met the needs of the local community.

“A key component to our engineering courses is providing real industry experience to our learners, and we are proud to be able to secure opportunities for them to take part in projects that have such a positive impact on those around us.”

Vel­ma Hamil­ton, Stroke Engage­ment Offi­cer for the Mid­lands at the Stroke Association, said:

‘”It’s been fan­tas­tic work­ing with the Canal & Riv­er Trust and Not­ting­ham Col­lege to help stroke sur­vivors lend their voices and art tal­ents to this bench project.

“We want to thank everyone involved for their work and for promoting the F.A.S.T message.

“The first thing every one of us should be aware of when it comes to stroke, is to make sure we know the FAST test.

“It’s easy to remember the most common signs of stroke: changes to the face (F), arms (A) and speech (S) – then it’s (T) – time to call 999.

“Stroke strikes every five minutes in the UK, killing tens of thousands of people and leaving thousands of stroke survivors with complex and severe disability.

“Every stroke is unique because the brain is so com­plex, and stroke can hap­pen in any part of it.

“This means there are as many dif­fer­ent impacts of stroke as there are stroke sur­vivors, so this bench will not only raise aware­ness of stroke but help the com­mu­ni­ty under­stand the effects of it”

Alex Flint, CEO of Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID), said: “Working with our members, partners, and local communities to create spaces where residents and visitors to Nottingham enjoy spending time, is at the heart what we do at Nottingham BID.

“This bench, in its location near the green heart of the city centre, and accessible to commuters and recreational visitors, will promote wellbeing and, most importantly, raise awareness of the signs of a stroke.”

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