St Clare launches four new Bereavement Café events in the community

Published on: Thursday 16 May 2019 at 16:00

We now host a total of six Bereavement Café events throughout West Essex!

In order to keep pace with demand for lighter-touch support for local people facing the loss of a loved one, St Clare Hospice has now developed four new ‘Bereavement Cafés’.

Run in partnership with Harlow’s Rainbow Services and Epping District Council, these four new Bereavement Café events will run throughout Nazeing, Harlow, Chigwell and Ongar, in addition to the two events already running in Dunmow and at the Hospice in Hastingwood.

St Clare recently ran a survey amongst local people, asking them for their thoughts on bereavement support in the area. Almost 100 local people (93) completed the survey; 69% of these said they’d like to see the Hospice develop more bereavement support groups in the local area and 57% agreed that more social groups for bereaved locals would be beneficial.

“When we looked at the results of our survey, we realised that the need for social bereavement support was greater than we’d thought. Developing the Bereavement Cafés for local people seemed to be the best option to support people in our area,” says Sally Muylders, Community Engagement Manager at St Clare Hospice.

“When we asked local people what support they’d recommend to a grieving friend or family member, we were astounded that 24% were unable to answer – with many simply admitting they’d refer to a GP. However, when asked what they knew to have helped a relative through grief, 77% said support from friends, family and neighbours was most helpful – whilst 38% said social groups or activities.

“This indicated to us that not only do we need more bereavement support in West Essex, there is a serious lack of information and communication around how people can access help when they have lost a loved one.

“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. With ‘social prescribing’ finally on the rise throughout Europe and in the NHS, it’s clear that community support and social wellbeing go hand in hand – and, here at St Clare, we know that is especially true when it comes to bereavement.”

Our new Bereavement Café project falls in line with our strategy for the next few years – to reach more local people facing death, dying and loss and connect local communities together so they can support each other. These community-led, social support events aim to connect local people who have experienced the death of someone close to them.

Michele Tavarone, a Social Worker within St Clare’s Patient & Family Support team, explained: “Our Bereavement Café events are very relaxed and informal – with tea, coffee and cake, just like a real café! Sometimes, talking or listening to other people who have shared experiences similar to our own can offer us comfort – even if just a little. The Bereavement Café offers people an opportunity and a safe place to meet others who understand what they may be going through. There is no right or wrong way to experience grief, but sometimes, it can be good to simply chat and hear other people’s stories.”

Find your local Café

There are currently six Bereavement Café events that run monthly throughout West Essex, with more continuously being developed throughout the area. Stay tuned on St Clare’s social media channels to find out the latest news.


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


Where: Hyde Mead House, Hyde Mead, Nazeing, EN9 2HT

When: First Wednesday of the month

Time: 1.30pm – 3.30pm


Where: Limes Farm Community Café (The Limes Centre), Limes Avenue, Chigwell, IG7 5LP

When: First Monday of the month

Time: 9.30am – 11.30am


Where: Harlow Playhouse, Harlow, CM20 1LS

When: Last Friday of the month

Time: 10.30am – 12.30pm


Where: St Martins Church, Chipping Ongar, CM5 9AT

When: Third Thursday of the month (starting 20th June

Time: 1.30pm – 3.30pm

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 more at:

For more information, please contact their Community Engagement Manager, Sally Muylders, who is a co-organiser of the Bereavement Café events. Please call 01279 773709 or email

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