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Stroke survivors are being encouraged to pick up a paintbrush and learn how to use art to express themselves.

Bath College works closely with The Stroke Association to run a 14-week community learning course covering the basics of art.

The introductory art course teaches learners, many of them pensioners, how to use art to help ease the frustration of not always being able to communicate.

It is the first time many of the learners have painted since leaving school and they talk about the enjoyment of ‘finding their focus,’ ‘increasing their confidence’ and ‘feeling included.’

Around 12 people attend the weekly sessions which are usually held at the Bath Bowling Club. Learners also recently enjoyed a visit to the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath where they got to learn in a fitting setting surrounded by the professionals!

Retired music teacher Jenny Walker had a stroke eight years ago and spent 10 days in hospital unable to speak.

The 83-year-old of Batheaston said: “It’s been a difficult journey of recovery and I still have eye sight and communication problems, but I now appreciate how every day is precious.

“This is why learning is so important to me. I may be getting slower but I’m enjoying life even more!”

Jenny said she loved trying new things and she enjoyed the social side of learning with a group of people who had become friends.

She said: “I still can’t believe I’m painting for the first time since I was at school aged about 15.

“It feels really exciting to be learning. I really enjoy painting and I’d love to paint a picture to go on the wall at home.”

Course tutor Liz Bennington said: “People are getting the chance to go somewhere different and to try something different.

“Many of them now have a new appreciation of art and they have been given the confidence to express themselves.

“The course works really well as people also enjoy the social side and the weekly classes give them more independence.”

For more information on these courses, which are held throughout the year, contact Bath College on 01225 328822 or visit www.www.bathcollege.ac.uk

WEB Stroke Association WEB art classromm

Pictured above: Adult learners taking the ‘Basics of Art’ course run by Bath College’s Community Learning in conjunction with The Stroke Association. They are pictured on a visit to Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery.

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