Sally Muylders Community Engagement Manager at St Clare Hospice writes...
I want to invite you to find out more about the latest development in St Clare's bereavement support service – which has been developed as a response to the current pandemic and UK lockdown period.
Our Bereavement Café project launched in February 2019, and since then we have been setting up events throughout the St Clare catchment area for all local, bereaved people to attend, to meet and connect with others who may share similar experiences.
However, with social distancing measures in place all across the country for the foreseeable future, we have diversified the project to launch Bereavement Café online communities.
So we have launched a series of local, Facebook Groups to offer a virtual space for local people to connect with others from the comfort of their own home.
The Groups are attached to our main St Clare Hospice Facebook page, and monitored by myself and our very own Bereavement Café Facilitator volunteers. Our aim is to ensure a welcoming and friendly environment for all involved.
These online communities are there for local people to use them in a way that best suits them. Whether it's meeting and talking to others, recommending supportive resources, sharing experiences or simply reading about what others have shared – we encourage people to engage as much, or as little as they like.
The Bereavement Café online communities offer a space for local, bereaved people to connect with others who understand. They are completely free to attend, and welcome all local people who have experienced bereavement in West Essex and East Hertfordshire
As these online communities develop, we also aim to offer 'virtual Café' style events via the popular video-conferencing service, Zoom. These will be promoted through our new Facebook groups for anyone to attend should they wish to.
This new development in St Clare's bereavement support service is enabling our hospice to continue supporting local people who are grieving throughout the pandemic, reaching new audiences and offering resources that communities can access from home – whether they are experiencing a recent bereavement, or a loss that was from many years ago.
Community Engagement Manager
St. Andrew's Methodist Church
The Stow, Harlow