What does SSOFT mean?

Stroke Support Organisation Faculty Tool.

What is SSOFT?

It is an eLearning tool that provides knowledge and training on how to create effective advocacy activities and campaigns to deliver positive change at a local and national level on stroke prevention, treatment and care.

What is a Stroke Support Organisation (SSO)?

Stroke Support Organisations (SSOs) are organisations that can be run solely by stroke survivors, or by healthcare professionals or by a mixture of people with a professional or personal interest in stroke.

At a minimum, most SSOs offer information and advice to stroke patients, but they might also provide peer support, family counselling, rehabilitation therapy or welfare services.

Many also engage in wider ranging activities such as awareness campaigning, prevention screening, lobbying for better services, and funding or facilitating stroke research.

SSOs are united by one common goal: To reduce the negative impact of stroke on individuals, their families and the wider society.

Sarah Belson, World Stroke Organisation

What is an eLearning tool?

An online educational or e-learning tool is a website which teaches and helps learners/students improve in certain subjects, it is like a virtual school/class. In this instance SSOFT will provide knowledge and training around stroke advocacy or campaigns for positive change.

What is advocacy?

Advocacy can be defined as “public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy” (Oxford dictionaries, Oxford University Press). It can mean a variety of activities, such as media campaigns, public speaking, commissioning and publishing research etc, that has the aim to influence or change policies within a political or social or economic environment.

It is a way of creating a voice or protecting the rights of all people within societies, particularly the most vulnerable, to ensure that their views and wishes are raised/visible at a location, national or international level.

SAFE, a non-profit-making organisation, represents a range of stroke patient groups from across Europe. SAFE and their members have a mutual advocacy goal to drive stroke prevention up the European political agenda and prevent the incidence of stroke through education.  SAFE therefore engages in activities such as campaigning, education and encouraging research, which contribute to the advancement of stroke prevention and the improvement of the quality of life of stroke survivors, their families and carers.

Who is involved?


The project is being developed and led by the Stroke Alliance for Europe


It is supported by the European Stroke Organisation (ESO)


It is sponsored by Bayer Healthcare


The eLearning tool is being developed by The Foundry Healthcare  


Why is it needed?

SAFE, in partnership with ESO, identified a need to support members on their journey to become strong and positive advocates so that they can campaign for improved prevention strategies, diagnosis and treatment for stroke, as well as aftercare of survivors and their families.

Through information and educational training on advocacy, Stroke Support Organisations can build their capacities and capabilities in this area. An online eLearning tool which is accessible anywhere member organisations are based, was identified as being the best solution to deliver this educational training.

By developing this eLearning tool for SSOs SAFE can continue support and invest in the future of its members.

Who is SSOFT for?

Primarily it is for Stroke Support Organisations (SSOs).

  • For newer or smaller organisations, the information in the tool will provide knowledge that will help them to build their organisation.
  • It will empower them to advocate for better prevention strategies, diagnosis, treatment and aftercare.
  • For larger organisations, the information in the tool will enable them to support their communities and other stroke professionals across Europe. To grow their communities and add more voices to their movement/arguments for change

However, this tool will be free to be accessed by anyone who is:

  • interested in knowing more about what a Stroke Support Organisation is, how to start and develop one and how to make it sustainable.
  • Interested in developing their advocacy skills to understand how to influence system integrated decision makers and how to run public awareness and influencing campaigns that mobilise public opinion.

Many of the people using the tool will be from within member organisations of SAFE, but users may also be non-members, or medics, therapists, nurses or other stroke care workers who want to operate within a broader context of stroke care.

What does SAFE’s eLearning tool look like?

SSOFT is available online and accessed through a website www.ssoft.info.

The SSOFT website contains information on the eLearning tool, SAFE, SAFE members etc. It also contains a registration form that learners need to complete the access to eLearning modules.

The SSOFT eLearning tool has six modules that learners will be able to complete at their own pace and in their own time.

What topics are covered in SAFE’s eLearning tool?

The eLearning tool is initially being developed to contain six modules that will cover the following areas of learning:

  1. What is a Stroke Support Organisation (SSO)?
  2. What is Advocacy and how is it done?
  3. The use of evidence
  4. The role of the patient voice
  5. Health systems advocacy
  6. Public advocacy

Each of these modules will be structured into smaller sub-modules to provide learners with bite-size information and learning. The modules will contain a mixture of interactive learning such as videos, animations and quizzes.

Can I use it on my smartphone or tablet?

Yes. SSOFT is being designed with software that will allow it to be accessible and usable on multiple devices e.g. computers, smart phone and tablets. It’s being designed in a way that it will be responsive to the device being used (responsive web design).

Where will it be available?

SSOFT will be accessible to anyone, anywhere as long as they have access to the internet.

What language will this be developed in?

The SSOFT website and eLearning tool is available in English (UK). SAFE is exploring options and funding to develop this in several other European languages for the future.