A flavoursome session!

Thursday morning members engaged in a crisp-tasting activity recently, trying to guess the flavours of a selection of crisps. Everyone agreed it was very difficult to guess correctly when the packets were removed! Members were able to describe flavours with the help of some key word labels – ‘sour’ and ‘cheesy’ and ‘meaty’. It was clear from people’s reactions that no one was a fan of the strong flavours like prawn cocktail!

Gardeners getting ready for Volunteer Lunch

Last week was Volunteers Week and our hard-working Garden Volunteers were in early on Monday making sure the garden looks it’s absolute best ahead of the Volunteer Lunch on Thursday.

Thank you so much to Sue, Ruth, Elaine and Adam who devote so much of their own personal time to making this a beautiful haven in the Leatherhead Courtyard.

Thurs Group ‘Describe It!’ Activity

We recently challenged our Thursday group Members to describe an object in their homes. They could describe through spoken words, gesture, drawing, writing – but could not name the object – a bit like the game Taboo.

It was an entertaining session but also demonstrated how well our Members can communicate using ‘total communication’ strategies. Indra sketched a brilliant fishing rod while David described in wonderful detail a grandfather clock.

Volunteers Week

We celebrated Volunteers Week 2024 and thanked our wonderful team of dedicated volunteers for all that they do for us. We also held a thank you lunch that was really well attended.

We are very lucky to have a large and diverse team of volunteers. They generously give up their time to volunteer with us and as they make up 80% of our team, we couldn’t provide our crucial services without them. They often go above and beyond their usual roles and help us in other ways such as creating ideas for group activities and then delivering them, helping with special interest activities for members, at fundraising events and some have even taken on their own fundraising challenges!

We also asked our volunteers what makes a good Dyscover volunteer, and we love the ideas that they suggested!  

Volunteers Fair

On Friday we attended the Charities Fair in Ashtead which is an opportunity for local charities to promote their volunteering roles. Thank you so much to our brilliant team of volunteers – Suzie, Pat and Kirsten and Trustee Barry who spent the afternoon on the Dyscover stand, chatting to people about what it is like to volunteer with us, answering questions and giving out leaflets. Several people showed an interest in our volunteering roles and our Volunteer Coordinator Liz will now follow up with them.

If you would like to find out more about our volunteering roles, please do contact Liz

30th Anniversary Art Project

This term has seen the launch of our first ever Art Project drawing inspiration from Dyscover’s forthcoming 30th Anniversary Celebrations.

We wanted to depict Dyscover over 30 years in Art and our long-established professional Artist, Alison Carlier, lead an ambitious project to involve all our face-to-face members in this exciting challenge.

After consultation with our Members, they said they wanted to highlight the support and opportunities they have received over the years and also to make sure there is an element of celebration and excitement in reaching this milestone. We do still have some members who have been receiving support since the very start.

The finished piece of collaborative Art was displayed at The Leatherhead Theatre in April .

Karen’s retirement lunch

Last week we said farewell to our Office Manager, Karen. Staff got together for a goodbye, happy retirement and good luck with the house move lunch!

Not one to do things by halves, Karen is leaving Dyscover and retiring to the coast – all in one busy weekend. She will leave a big hole at Dyscover and we can’t thank her enough for all the hard work she’s put into generating an up-to-date, efficient administrative office at Dyscover and being a wonderful support to everyone. Good Luck Karen, we will miss you.

‘Where words fail, music speaks’  – 30th Music Celebration April 2024

During our Easter break we began our 30th Anniversary Celebrations with a fantastic musical event led by internationally recognised Choral Director and Vocal Coach Mark De-Lisser . Mark led a thrilling two-hour choral workshop for Members and Relatives, inspiring people with aphasia to sing when the spoken word is difficult.

Members said “that was really excellent, it was such a lovely experience”. Mark said he felt inspired to work with People with Aphasia and has promised to return. He feels singing is important for everyone ”.

Aphasia Conference 14th & 15th April 2024

In April, 11 Dyscover members travelled to Warwick University for a 2-day conference designed for and by people with aphasia. The theme was Wellbeing and Aphasia.

Dyscover’s own Gill Jackson and a colleague, Gill Pearl, led and organised the conference, but people with aphasia played central roles in the design and running of every aspect of the conference.

Rosemary introduced the idea of wellbeing to the 98 conference participants using a ‘stress bucket’ to start the discussion. Dyscover Ambassadors, Paul, Maggie, Suzie and Sarah then described the activities in their week that lift their mood – which include Zumba, swimming, photography and volunteering. Connecting with friends at Dyscover was also a highlight for all of them. Other conference sessions looked at relationships, research, music and art. Members manned the Dyscover stand in the Exhibition room (displaying new Dyscover posters), and Rosemary led a session which focussed on relatives’ wellbeing.

Between presentations, everyone enjoyed getting to know each other, and tucking into delicious food produced by the conference centre. Many people had not stayed away from home alone since their stroke.

The conference ended with discussion about what we had learnt, and how we might make changes in our lives to boost our wellbeing. Everyone was enthusiastic about keeping in touch and maybe running another conference!

Feedback was hugely positive!

We are very grateful to The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia who supported the conference with a major grant.

Easter Activities 2024

Whilst our regular conversation groups have taken a break, we have offered a number of Challenge Activities to our Members over the Easter holidays.

A group of online and face-to-face members met up for a coffee and pastry at the Teddington Park Hotel and enjoyed a relaxed social time practicing communication with the support of two of our regular volunteers Barry and Dee.

We also offer a seated Pilates class with our regular online coach Natalie, and we visited Bushy Park for the ever-popular Companion Cycling.

Gardeners hard at work

It was lovely to see the sun shining on the courtyard garden which is looking so lovely and is really coming to life. This is thanks to the expertise and leadership of our brilliant volunteer gardener Sue Edwards who has been leading the project for many years. Sue is now supported by a QEF volunteer, Adam and they make a great team. We are always keen to hear from anyone who is interested in volunteering in the garden. You don’t need lots of experience just enthusiasm and a willingness to get stuck in, as Sue is happy to provide guidance and support. If you think this might be of interest, please do get in touch with our Volunteer Coordinator Liz

Escape room – Wednesday pm group

A great time was had by all with a very different theme for this group. Created, organised and run by our super volunteer Steve (who dressed for the occasion in a car mechanic boiler suit and streaks of oil across his face!), the group was assigned the task to escape from the mechanic’s garage and drive away. But first the members (staff and volunteers) had to solve various clues! This was challenging but a lot of fun; it involved identifying numbers in song titles, which set off spontaneous singing to produce the answers, finding clues to unlock combination padlocks, reading clues backwards with a mirror, popping a balloon and many other tasks. There was lots of laughter from all involved! A big thank you for your creativity Steve and for all your hard work setting up and giving your time and enthusiasm!


Six of our Wednesday A.M members are involved with an exciting City & Kings University research project, looking at ways to improve accessibility to digital content ( eg, tv, videos, podcasts, social media) to support the needs of people with aphasia. They are exploring and developing the use of bespoke, innovative features to create a ‘toolkit’ which is tailored to an individual’s needs, eg, limiting background noise so the actor’s voice is clearer. We look forward to continuing to support this project.  

Media Info

For information and photos or to receive a copy of our promotional film, please contact us on 01737 819419 or email