North East Wales

Students design garden tool to help stroke survivors

The Stroke Association's allotment at Rhosddu, Wrexham
Image caption The Stroke Association said gardening was an effective therapy

A competition to design a new gardening tool to make life easier for people who have suffered a stroke is under way at Wrexham's Glyndŵr University.

The contest was launched to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week, which runs from 15-21 November.

Organisers said disabilities caused by strokes often made it difficult to use traditional gardening tools.

The winning design will be prototyped and then tested by the Stroke Association on its Wrexham allotment.

Tool designs were being submitted by students on Monday.

The winner will be prototyped by product development company TechSol UK in 2012, and the Stroke Association will test it at its allotment in Rhosddu.

Matthew Draycott, enterprise associate at Glyndŵr University, said: "We're delighted to be working with the Stroke Association and TechSol UK to provide our students with an opportunity to work on a real-life project which could benefit thousands of stroke survivors.

"Global Entrepreneurship Week is all about developing students' entrepreneurial ability and this really is a fantastic chance to test their skills and potentially have their product idea taken to market."

The university said people who have suffered strokes can find it difficult to use small hand tools because of problems with making small muscle movements.

Handling larger tools can also be problematic because of loss of strength, and loss of memory can mean people forget where they have placed tools.

A spokesperson for the Stroke Association said: "We would like to thank both the students who are taking part and Glyndŵr University for organising the competition.

"It has the potential to improve the quality of life for the 10,000 people who have a stroke each year in Wales.

"Gardening has proved to be an effective form of therapy for stroke survivors, and the tools that students design will make this everyday activity easier and more accessible to people disabled by stroke.

"We are confident the winning tool will be of great benefit to stroke survivors and will help them along the path to rehabilitation and recovery."

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