St Clare launches Bereavement Café

Published on: Friday 22 Feb 2019 at 15:07

Our Bereavement Café is a twice-monthly drop-in group for anyone who has experienced bereavement

“Social isolation is fast becoming one of the nation’s most critical concerns in the UK, with bereavement at the top of the list for key risk factors,” says Community Engagement Manager at St Clare Hospice, Sally Muylders.

“Our plans for 2019 at the Hospice are to focus on tackling loneliness and social isolation in our local communities, which includes everybody facing death, dying and loss in West Essex and on the borders of East Hertfordshire. Eventually, we want to ensure that nobody in our community has to face this alone – and that everybody knows that their local hospice is here for them,” explains Sally.

That’s why St Clare Hospice has recently launched a social, community-led support event to connect local people who have experienced the death of someone close to them.

The newly-founded Bereavement Café has launched at two locations throughout West Essex, including at the Hospice itself and at partnering organisation, Old Park Meadow Natural Burial Ground, in Great Dunmow.

Occurring monthly at each location, the Bereavement Café events offer local people a place to meet and connect with others who have had similar experiences in losing a loved one. The event is a safe place to speak openly to others about shared experiences, all the while enjoying a ‘cuppa’ and a cake in a relaxed and informal environment – just like a real café.

The initiative was launched at St Clare’s first ever Bereavement Café, which was hosted at the Hospice in Hastingwood on the afternoon of Friday 15th February 2019. The event saw more around 15 local people attend, who were accompanied by St Clare staff and Bereavement Support Volunteers.

Michele Tavarone, a Social Worker within St Clare’s Patient & Family Support team, explained: “When we experience the death of someone close to us, it can feel like our whole world has turned upside down – with each of us experiencing grief in our own way. Sometimes, talking or listening to someone who understands can offer us comfort – even if just a little. At a Bereavement Café, it is okay to feel sad or upset, angry or frustrated – and it’s also okay to laugh and enjoy the time with others. It is okay to talk about your feelings, but it is also okay to not feel like you have to. There is no right or wrong way to experience grief, but sometimes, it can be good to simply chat over a cuppa and hear other people’s stories.”

Michele continued: “It was lovely to see so many people come along to our first Bereavement Café. It’s so important to us that local residents have access to the support that is right for them. We’re feeling very humbled and encouraged by the wonderful attendance.”

There are currently two Bereavement Café events that run monthly throughout West Essex:


Where: St Clare Hospice, Hastingwood Road, Hastingwood, CM17 9JX

When: Every 3rd Friday of the month

Time: 1.30pm – 3.30pm


Where: Old Park Meadow, Coppice Ln, North End, Dunmow, CM6 3PL

When: Last Wednesday of the month

Time: 10am – 12pm

St Clare Bereavement Café events are completely free to attend. Local people are welcome to ‘drop-in’ at any time throughout the event.

The next Café, and the first of the Dunmow events, will be hosted at Old Park Meadow Natural Burial Ground on Wednesday 27th February 2019.

If you would like to find out more about St Clare Hospice’s Bereavement Café events, please contact our Community Engagement Manager, Sally Muylders, who is a co-organiser of the Bereavement Café events. Please call 01279 773709 or email

Back to News