Face-to-face bereavement support is back

It was a long summer but we’re so pleased to say that our face-to-face bereavement support has begun again.

We usually offer our support programme over two days (non-residential) at the weekends, run by our specialists and supported by our volunteers, offering bereavement support for around 25 children and young people, with an additional group to support parents and carers.

When the lockdown was announced, all of our face-to-face care had to stop – but we are now able again, to support our families face-to-face, within strictly controlled socially distanced settings due to our exemption from government restrictions as a provider of charitable services.

In August, we held two single day group programmes supporting a total of 20 children and young people at Bapchild Village Hall. Three one day programmes were held during September for children and young people, along with two one day programmes for parents and carers of children taking part in our therapeutic support programme.

Going digital in ‘the new normal’
Our last full weekend was in March, before we were forced to cancel them from April onwards. Our programme team quickly looked at how else we could support our families and turned to digital tools including video calling and email, alongside telephone calls to give the support needed as best they could.

Resource packs were also carefully put together and posted or dropped off to families to use and work through, with similar activities to those offered on the bereavement support weekends.
Follow-up calls and support was scheduled to make sure families always had what they needed, when they needed it.

During September we have also been supporting pupils and staff in three schools – Tunstall School in Sittingbourne, Phoenix School in Chatham and St Lawrence School In Ramsgate.

Our CEO Caroline Ford, said: “The pandemic has affected us not only in terms of fundraising but in service delivery too – we haven’t been able to provide our key service, our flagship bereavement weekends which we know are so vital to some of our families and often provide the turnaround they need for children to start to cope with their grief.
“But in August, we did get the face-to-face bereavement service back in place, reducing it from two days to one, with ongoing support and resources.
“We will continue these throughout the autumn, along with the weekends which we already had planned to help as many families as we can.
“A big thank you must be said to our families for waiting for us, our staff and volunteers for all they’ve done and continue to do for us and also our fundraisers who help to make sure we can provide the services we do.
“It’s been a strange few months but we are looking to the future and will be incorporating the digital ways of working more in what we do, having found they have been effective and embraced.”

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