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Continuing to provide support

After such a long period of not being able to meet each other, our Bereavement Group members are appreciating being able to spend time together again. Our monthly Saturday group is back up and running regularly, as is our smaller group. The larger Saturday group is moving to a new location at The Oasis, part of Crowborough Community Church in Beacon Road.

For the past 13 years, the Bereavement Group has been providing an outlet for bereaved family members to meet with others in a similar situation.

“Once a funeral had happened, we always told families that our door was open to them for a cup of tea and a chat,” says Glenys Jones. “However, we soon realised we could be doing more to support families. So, with the help of Sue Carswell, who is a trained counsellor, we launched our Bereavement Group.”

Bereaved folk have the option of coming along to our smaller group first – where the focus is on providing that initial support in the early days, as well as some more practical help too on moving forward after the death of a loved-one. These sessions are led by Sue, who can signpost our members to any further help they might require in terms of emotional support.

As that group meets in St John’s Church Hall, on the edge of the Ashdown Forest, members sometimes enjoy a short walk together, often joined by their dogs. Not only do members enjoy the beautiful scenery but it can be easier to chat when walking along, than in the more ‘formal’ setting of a room.

The Bereavement Group has welcomed guest speakers covering a variety of subjects over the years. Talks coming up include a look at the life of a family involved in the diplomatic service and the story of a motoring challenge from Beijing to Paris. There’s also a trip to Sheffield Park Gardens coming up, while some members are off on a short break together soon.

“Some lovely friendships have developed over the years,” Glenys says. “They comfort each other and offer support at times when it’s needed. What’s really great is what happens outside the group itself. This short break isn’t an official Bereavement Group trip but organised by some of our members. In addition, members go to the cinema or on day trips together, while also helping each other out with shopping or lifts to a medical appointment when needed.”

As Sue Carswell said at the 10th anniversary celebrations: “In many ways, this is the worst possible group to have to join, but our members have brought each other love and comfort, and some incredible friendships have been formed over the years.”

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