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The CoGS study is funded from the National Lottery Community Fund (previously Big Lottery), in partnership with Nesta, as part of their support for Stroke Association’s expanding peer support network.

The CoGS Study: Community Groups for Post-Stroke Support

The CoGS Study

There are 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK and 100,000 new strokes happening every year. As well as often leading to physical impairments and difficulties with day-to-day activities, stroke can lead to some people becoming more socially isolated. To start to address this, the Stroke Association has an expanding network of over 200 peer support groups that offer people who have had a stroke the opportunity to access peer support. Peer support groups are those run by volunteers, many of whom have either had a stroke or been affected by stroke themselves. The people going along to the groups can tell you a bit more about these groups themselves:


The CoGS study is led by researchers at the University of Exeter and aims to understand more about the peer support model that has been scaled-up by the Stroke Association. Members of the post-stroke support groups will be invited to respond to surveys twice (1 year apart) between November 2019 and January 2021 and then a number of members will take part in more in-depth interviews with a researcher.

Research by the Nuffield Trust describes how people involved in these groups report that their confidence, health and well-being has improved through group participation. In the CoGS study, we will build on this to understand who benefits from the groups, how and under what conditions. In particular, we will examine the key social group processes that can shape people’s experience and participation in group programmes like this. We hope this will inform future development of the Stroke Association’s peer support network as well as informing peer support in other health fields.

The team

The study is led by Dr Mark Tarrant (Principal investigator) and Dr Raff Calitri, managed by Dr Ruth Lamont and supported by a great team of co-investigators and collaborators: Professor Sarah DeanDr Luke Mounce, Dr Amy Backhouse, Professor Chris Code and Laura Hollands.

To find out more contact Dr Ruth Lamont (CoGS Research Fellow):


Tel: 01392 72(6865)

University of Exeter, 
College of Medicine and Health, 
Room 2.05 College House, 
St. Luke’s Campus, 
Magdalen Road, 
Exeter, EX1 2LU