Locals needed to support growing hospice-led Bereavement Café service

Bereavement Cafe
Published on: Thursday 22 Aug 2019 at 15:24

Our Bereavement Café service is growing, so we’re looking for more helping hands!

After the successful launch of our new Bereavement Café initiative in February 2019, St Clare Hospice is once again expanding our new support service to continue meeting the needs of local people who are facing the loss of a loved one.

Since the beginning of 2019, St Clare has established five Bereavement Café events throughout the local area. As of Friday 6th September, we will increase the frequency of our monthly Café to occur every Friday afternoon at the Hospice in Hastingwood, at 1.30pm – 3.30pm.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the public’s engagement with our Bereavement Café events,” says Sally Muylders, Community Engagement Manager at St Clare Hospice. “It’s an honour and privilege to be able to host this service for local people who are looking to meet others who have also experienced the death of a loved one. So we’re delighted to announce that our Café at St Clare will now be weekly, so that we can keep up with local demand for this kind of support.”

In addition to this, St Clare will also launch two new Bereavement Cafés in Abridge and Theydon Bois (Epping Forest), and Harlow (Harlow District) in October 2019, bringing our total number of Cafés in the local community to 10 events every month.

“That’s 10 opportunities for local people to meet and connect with others who have had a similar experience to their own,” adds Sally. “At the moment, our Bereavement Cafés welcome an estimated 100 people to the events every month – some of whom may not otherwise have had the opportunity to meet other bereaved people. This is set to increase as we continue developing this service.”

“It’s becoming ever-clearer to healthcare professionals – including Hospices – that this kind of social support is what the public are asking for,” says Michele Tavarone, a Social Worker within St Clare’s Patient & Family Support team. “Too often are people left in isolation after a bereavement, but support services like our Bereavement Cafés are helping to change that reality for people so that they don’t have to face their journey alone.”

“Bereavement Cafés are really about offering people the opportunity to support each other, empowering our local communities to become more resilient – together. However, running a Bereavement Café does require support from our amazing team of Bereavement Café Facilitators, who are all local people dedicated to volunteering with St Clare and making a difference in their community.

“With our Cafés continuously expanding and supporting more people, we are appealing for some more helping hands to come forward and volunteer with us, to enable us to continue growing the project. Could you help us?” Michele asks.

St Clare Hospice’s voluntary Bereavement Café Facilitators play a vital part in setting up the events, welcoming attendees, and being attentive and hospitable.

“You do not need to be an ‘expert’ in bereavement to facilitate at a Bereavement Café,” says St Clare’s Voluntary Services Manager, Rob Wallace. “However, you will need to have a range of ‘soft skills’ to assist you in easing the ‘flow’ of the Café and ensuring that nobody is sitting alone, for example.

“This is an extremely rewarding role at St Clare that is directly helping to make a difference to local people who have experienced the loss of a loved one. We would welcome anyone who is 18+ years, with a passion for supporting others and getting involved in their local community, to get in touch and find out more about the role.”

Find out more

More details about St Clare’s Bereavement Café Facilitator role can be found at: stclarehospice.org.uk/volunteervacancies

St Clare Bereavement Café events are completely free to attend. Local people are welcome to ‘drop in’ at any time throughout the event. Find out about each Café at: stclarehospice.org.uk/your-community/activities/bereavement-cafe

For more information, please contact St Clare’s Community Engagement Manager, Sally Muylders, who is a co-organiser of the Bereavement Café events. Please call 01279 773709 or email sally.muylders@stclarehospice.org.uk

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