A PIONEERING dance therapy group that helps stroke survivors in Carlisle has been recognised in a national list for its life-changing work.

Susie Tate and the About Being team are based at the University of Cumbria.

Made up of lecturers and those studying dance, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, they work with stroke patients in the community.

Now they have been named among the nation’s lifesavers - a list of the top 100 individuals or groups based in universities whose work is making life-changing differences to health and wellbeing.

It is parts of the MadeAtUni campaign being run by Universities UK, highlighting the impact that universities on everyday lives.

The About Being project offers stroke survivors in Carlisle weekly dance and movement sessions as part of their recovery and rehabilitation.

Coordinated by Susie, the classes are specially-designed to support people to move more, reduce isolation and encourage better wellbeing.

Carers and family members can also join sessions to give them respite.

Susie Tate, an honorary associate lecturer at the University of Cumbria, said: “We are honoured to feature as one of the nation’s lifesavers for our work supporting stroke survivors to live a more active, social and creative life.

“It’s equally an invaluable opportunity for our students who not only get practical experience relevant to their future careers but they have also made connections with people they may not normally meet, enriching their lives to the mutual benefit of all involved.”

Universities from across the country were invited to nominate an individual or group who has made a significant contribution to the nation’s health and wellbeing.

Those chosen range from students fighting diseases and helping children enjoy the best start in life, to those supporting older people and improving mental health.

Susie and the About Being initiative have been praised by North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust for the positive impact they have on stroke rehabilitation patients.

Dr Paul Davies, consultant stroke physician, said: “There are only a few centres in the UK that have access to dance and music therapy as part of stroke rehabilitation and we are fortunate that we can offer this in Carlisle.

“You only have to see the pleasure patients get when they start doing something they enjoy. Many believe they can’t take part but dance therapy can be done sitting or standing so it is very inclusive.

“Recovery after stroke requires the development of new neural pathways. These develop and become stronger with repetitive movement. This is how dance therapy can help.”

Chief nurse Alison Smith added: “This is a fantastic project and we are thrilled to be participating and helping our patients with their recovery and rehabilitation."