„This year’s Working Conference was a little different compared to others, because every single delegate who registered actually came to the conference“, said Jon Barrick, SAFE President in his opening remarks of the most important SAFE annual event.

More than 80 delegates from over 30 European countries gathered in Porto, Portugal for this year’s conference and General Assembly.

The Working Conference agenda covered important topics ranging from SAFE’s advocacy work and workshops about growing a stroke support organisation, to vitally important day-to-day topics such as stroke and intimacy, fatigue after stroke and travelling if you are a stroke survivor.

On the first day of the Working Conference SAFE’s most important project in 2019 was presented – The Economic Impact of Stroke in Europe Report.This pivotal piece of research into the health economics of stroke in Europe was presented by Ramon Luengo Fernandes, research lead on behalf of the University of Oxford and Gary Randall, SAFE’s Research Manager and volunteer.

“The Economic Impact of Stroke in Europe Report provides persuasive arguments for stroke to be considered as an investable proposition. We hope we have brought enough hard evidence for our partners, medics, researchers and policy decision makers to see the clear potential for investment in stroke prevention, treatment and life after stroke as a way for saving more lives and reducing future costs” said Arlene Wilkie, SAFE Director General and the chair of this session.

The whole session with the presentation of the results was live tweeted and shared via SAFE Facebook page.

You can see the agenda of the SAFE Working Conference here.

The second day was about practical information on how to grow an SSO, presented by Sarah Belson from the World Stroke Organisation. ‘How to develop your organisation’ is of course a huge topic, but having spoken to a number of you I recognise that some of the most valuable learning you take from SAFE, is hearing from the experience of other SSOs” said Sarah Belson. She presented four case studies from the Cyprus, Finland, Poland and Israel SSOs.

SAFE’s General Assembly was held on 29th November. Apart from voting for very important updates in the SAFE Constitution, new members were welcomed to the Board and three new organisations joined SAFE- Moždani Val from Croatia, Ukrainian Anti-Stroke Association and Turkish Cerebrovascular Diseases Society. The SAFE Assembly voted with much regret for the expulsion of the Austrian SSO, as this member failed to fulfill its membership duties.

There were three new candidates for the Board and three candidates from the previous Board were standing for re-election. After expressing unanimous decisions for each candidate, delegates’ vote lead to SAFE having the full Board in 2020. The new Board consists of 11 members:

Jon Barrick, SAFE President, UK

Anita Arsovska, Vice President, North Macedonia

Marina Charalambous, Secretary, Cyprus

Chris Macey, Treasurer, Ireland

Grethe Lunde, Norway

Ivan Milojević, Serbia

Derya Uluduz, Turkey

Dmytro Gulyayev, Ukraine

Hrvoje Jurlina, Croatia,

Hariklia Proios, Greece

Pnina Rosenzweig, Israel

After 15 amazing years of serving #SAFE, Markus Wagner from the German Stroke Foundation Stiftung Deutsche Schlaganfall-Hilfe was presented with a token of our appreciation for all of his hard work as a SAFE Board member, Past-President and a VP. We really appreciate Markus as a colleague and a friend and we hope he will continue to share his experience and ideas with SAFE.


The next General Assembly will be held on 20th November 2020 in Barcelona, Spain.