Cruse Bereavement Care

Cruse Bereavement has been given a grant to support the cost ofswitching its 50 volunteers to a phone service instead of face to face sessions.

The isolation caused by social distancing and being cut off from networks of family and friends can have a devastating effect on a person’s ability to cope with grief and increase stress and anxiety.

Fundraiser Sarah Chapman said: “Our volunteers have been fantastic in adapting very quickly to working by telephone, and for us it is about providing support to our clients remotely.  We will continue to provide ongoing telephone support until we are able to safely return to providing face-to-face support.

“But we expect to see additional issues as a result of social distancing for example, some people will not be able to attend funerals or grieve with loved ones. The charity, which has offices in Swindon, Salisbury and Bath, is helping more than 100 clients cope with the loss of a loved one and is finding social distancing restrictions are adding to their burden.

“A lot of people may feel even more isolated and alone, that’s generally what we help with, which is why it is so important that we’re continuing to provide that support,” said Miss Chapman.

“Sadly people will still lose loved ones who are in hospital or care homes, even if not due to the virus, and it may mean that people have been unable to say goodbye and that can really add to the trauma of the grief. Some clients feel that their grief has had to be put on hold so the fact we have still been able to keep some sort of normality and with the support we are giving has been a huge constant for a lot of people.”

Bereavement volunteers are having to find different ways of helping people cope with their grief. “In the sessions, volunteers will go through coping strategies and rituals that clients can use. This may involve going to see a loved one or visiting a loved one’s grave, which are obviously things they aren’t able to do at the moment so that is an additional challenge,” said Miss Chapman.

“It’s a learning curve for us as well, but nationally Cruse has been involved in supporting people in national emergencies like the Grenfell fire and 9/11 so we have a lot of experience we can call on, but it is still a new challenge for us.”

The charity is expecting to see the effects of the pandemic for many months to come, said Miss Chapman. “This last month has been supporting existing clients but I think the extra challenges that are going to be specific to Covid-19 will present themselves in the next few months.

“Long term there will be those extra bereavements that will come as a result of Covid-19. It’s something that could perhaps change our service for the foreseeable future and we have to make sure we are prepared for that, which is why the grant from the Wiltshire Community Foundation makes such a difference to us and we are very, very grateful for all the support we are receiving.”

Grant awarded: