Bereavement Matters to shut city centre HQ

The launch of Bereavement Matters by St Albans Bereavement Network trustees David Wall, treasurer Da

The launch of Bereavement Matters by St Albans Bereavement Network trustees David Wall, treasurer David Langford, vice chair Sue Claydon, Dr Michael Elves, chair Rt Rev John Gladwin, Kate Ray, vice chair Sandy Walkington and John Gardner in 2014. Picture: Danny Loo. - Credit: Archant

Bereavement Matters is to close its city centre office and stop its counselling and child sector services.

Since 2002 the Catherine Street charity has offered practical and emotional support to people from St Albans district who were recently bereaved, however the trustees have decided to shut up shop as it has become too expensive to run.

Chair of the trustees John Gladwin said: “This has not been an easy decision and I pay tribute to our incredibly dedicated staff. The trustees have been agonising about reaching this conclusion, but it became increasingly difficult to fund the overheads of a fully-fledged counselling service, particularly with the NHS and local government becoming less able to provide support.

“The need for bereavement support will continue. We will of course fulfil our obligations to current counselling clients. There are other local providers of counselling services and we hope they will be able to develop in this specialist role in future, and people will still be able to contact us for help and signposting to counselling services if required.”

Aside from counselling, people from the district have also benefited from art exhibitions run by the charity, including one last year called The Art of Grieving, and a series of talks organised by the charity with health professionals such as former county coroner Edward Thomas, who spoke about dealing with deaths which occurred in unexplained circumstances.

All is not lost for Bereavement Matters’ client base however, as fellow charity The Counselling Foundation has announced the establishment of its own specialist adult and children’s bereavement service.

The Foundation will welcome existing clients of Bereavement Matters who wish to continue their counselling as well as accept applications from new clients who self-refer or are signposted by their GPs.

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Chief executive Robert Cuming, said: “We are delighted to be able to set up a specialist bereavement service, and build on the exceptional range of bereavement support that Bereavement Matters has developed. We want to ensure the continuation of these high quality services.”

Many of Bereavement Matters’ counsellors will join the Foundation’s new bereavement service to ensure continuation of the current expertise and knowledge in bereavement support provision inthe dstrict for the future.

Bereavement Matters clinical lead, Jo Spilling, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be working with the Foundation. Its size and reputation, combined with our unique services and valuable experience in providing bereavement support, will increase our ability to serve our community. The Foundation’s professionalism, expertise and willingness to support this new venture will enable this much-valued service to continue.”

Bereavement and loss touch almost everyone at some point in their lives. It is particularly distressing for children to lose a parent but it is well recognised that the loss of a parent at any time of life can bring up feelings of great loss as well as issues about past relationships.

To contact the Foundation about bereavement or general counselling, call 01727 868585 or visit