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Gloucestershire Business News

Surge in demand for bereavement support: Charity calls on Gloucestershire to help

The total UK death toll from coronavirus is now 34,796 which means around 173,980 people nationally are currently grieving in lockdown.

Sue Ryder, the national healthcare charity, which runs Leckhampton Court hospice in Cheltenham, has seen a significant spike in the need for its bereavement support, including the charity's free video counselling service and online bereavement community.

In the last three weeks, Sue Ryder has reported an 84 per cent increase in demand for its online bereavement support and the charity's free video bereavement counselling service now has a waiting list that is growing each week.

This surge has resulted in an urgent need for additional funding in order for the charity to increase its counselling capacity to support a nation that is grieving.

Heidi Travis, chief executive of Sue Ryder, said: "As a society, the grief those around us are experiencing right now is unlike anything we have ever witnessed before.

"Sue Ryder is supporting families who have been devastated by coronavirus and their grief is being intensified and compounded by lockdown and social distancing restrictions.

"Many people have been unable to be at their loved one's bedside when they died; to hold their hand or say goodbye. People have not been able to attend funerals or find solace and comfort, physically, in the arms of their support networks.

"Our free online video counselling service is providing a lifeline to many, but we cannot keep up with demand.

"We are asking the public to please give what they can, however small, to enable us to increase our free bereavement counselling and support the people who are waiting for our help at this incredibly difficult time."

A bereavement counsellor at Sue Ryder said: "Many of the pastimes which may bring us some comfort when we are grieving, such as meeting friends and family or other coping strategies, such as going to support groups, are not available to us right now.

"Having our usual routines of school, work or activities can provide us with a sense of safety, like an anchor to life before our loss. This consistency can help with our process of grieving; now this has changed for every one of us.

"For the recently bereaved, the inability to have physical contact with people can be very difficult, if families are not living in the same households, they are currently not able to hug or hold each other. Having to stand two metres away from a loved one who is sharing your grief can feel cruel and difficult to bear.

"This is a time when people need support from specialist services more than ever. As a society, we need to support bereaved people to get back on their feet after loss. Sue Ryder's bereavement services can significantly help with that process and support people at the most difficult time of their lives."

Sheila Hancock, Sue Ryder supporter, said: "Dealing with the death of a loved one is always difficult; I know that - but never more so than it is now. Maybe you're grieving in isolation or you're really unhappy in the way your loved one died. You are not alone and, thanks to Sue Ryder, help is at hand to help you navigate your grief."

Sue Ryder provides a range of online bereavement support, including free video counselling delivered through trained bereavement counsellors; an online community forum offering 24 hour peer to peer support and a wide range of advice and resources for people who are grieving or supporting someone through bereavement,

To find out more about Sue Ryder's Online Bereavement Support or to make a donation, please visit 

Photo credit: Roger Bracewell

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