Earlier this month, members of our Oxford Health Charity team were thrilled to deliver a trolley load of new sports equipment to the staff and volunteers of the Oxfordshire Stroke Rehabilitation Unit (OSRU) at Abingdon Community Hospital.

Purchased through charity funding, these new items will be used to support the unit’s stroke patients’ recovery programme and will also provide topical exercises that will be linked to international sporting events such as the UEFA European Football Championship, The Championships at Wimbledon, and the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

Service users will now be able to play racquet sports, with the new soft-play tennis and table tennis sets, as well as ball games, with new footballs, a goal and a floor-mounted basketball hoop. Throwing events will also be included in the ‘OSRU Championships’, through the addition of new beanbags and juggling balls, plus a tin can alley, skittles set, a 25ft long tabletop curling/shuffleboard and quoits.

This sports equipment will enhance patient experience through enriching individual and group therapy sessions – helping service users engage in more meaningful and purposeful therapy-based activities designed to increase participation and intensity in their rehabilitation treatment. 

Talking to the charity team about this new equipment, Katie Butler (Clinical Lead Physiotherapist at OSRU) commented:

“They may particularly benefit those with speech or cognitive deficit following a stroke. This equipment can continue to be used for both individual and group therapy and, in subsequent years, for similar sporting events.”

Speaking on behalf of the charity team, Michelle Evans (Oxford Health Charity Development Manager) remarked:

"What a great start to the summer! Thanks to our fantastic supporters, we're able to provide this bounty of bright colourful sports equipment to our wonderful OSRU unit. Whilst the team provide clinical and therapeutic rehabilitation to our stroke survivors, we're pleased to be able to enhance this, add a little fun to normal activity and perhaps a dash of friendly competitive spirit too!"   

During the summer months, OSRU patients and staff will not only be able to engage in these new physical activities but will also have their general knowledge tested. As the charity team discovered during their visit, the unit’s corridors are currently adorned not only with the flags of the 24 countries taking part in the UEFA European Football Championship but also with photos of numerous past Wimbledon champions – with the names of the countries and tennis players hidden!


OSRU volunteer, Steve Cook, (pictured left; and right with Viv Southcott, Clinical Lead Occupational Therapist) explained the additional benefits of these picture games: 

“The photos brighten up the corridor and enable the staff to interact with the patients to break up what can be long days. This supplements the daily therapy sessions and weekly arts and craft group activities.”

Following the success of the current general knowledge picture games, new ones will be displayed throughout the unit to coincide with the forthcoming summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

We look forward to hearing an update from the OSRU team about how their new sports equipment is being received by service users once their ‘in-house championships’ get underway in their weekly therapy sessions!

The purchase of these new sports items has been possible thanks to the generosity of public donations for the stroke unit. To help us continue to support OSRU service users, please visit our donation page: Donate - Make a donation | Oxford Health Charity