People who have lost a family member or a close friend and are suffering from grief will soon be able to attend Pendleside Hospice’s bereavement group which is about to re-start on the 6th September.
It is 16 months since the monthly meetings had to be stopped because of the Coronavirus pandemic and in the interim period people suffering grief have only been able to receive one-to-one virtual counselling either on Zoom and Skype or over the telephone.
Simon Frauts, family support team leader, said: “Some people prefer the one-to-one counselling but others feel more comfortable in a group situation which hasn’t been possible because of the Covid-19 restrictions.
“But, now, we are about to relaunch the bereavement group which will meet on the first Monday of every month. People will join for eight sessions over eight months. The meetings will start at 6pm and finish at 7.30pm.
“One difference from before is that rather than have more or less an open house we are now arranging for groups of between 10 and 15 to attend each series of meetings.”
Ken Mitchell, a counsellor at Pendleside, who will be organising the programme, says he will be there as a facilitator.
He said: “The meetings will be structured in that I have planned certain themes for each week but not so strictly structured as not to allow people to be open about their own situation. We want them to express their feelings and to explain how they are dealing with day-to-day life.
“Everyone’s grief is different but through peer support and listening to other’s experiences we have found that people in the bereavement group take great comfort from the meetings giving them more confidence to approach their daily routine.”
Ken added: “I see the meetings serving a therapeutic purpose and are planned in a manner which appreciates that everyone will be at a different stage of grief.”
Ken will be joined by Deborah Wilkinson and Gillian Concannon, who themselves are widowed and met at previous bereavement group meetings.
Ken said: “Deborah and Gillian wanted so much to come back and share their experiences and explain how meeting within a group environment helped them overcome the initial devastation brought on by losing someone you love dearly.
“It’s not unusual for people who attend to make close friends within the group and arrange to meet socially outside the hospice. We have even had people who have arranged holidays together after meeting at Pendleside.”
Anyone who has suffered a loss either in the family or of a close friend, whether they were connected to the hospice or not, can apply to join the bereavement group by ringing 01282 440102.”