As part of Dying Matters week and the Brighton Fringe Festival, several members of the South East Family Services team took part in a Good Grief Event organised by Martlet’s Hospice. This event was aimed at anyone who has experienced loss or would like to learn more about grief and there were representatives from many local charities.
Our experience at this inspiring event showed us just how vital it is for us to be seen in the community. It was really important for people to be able to stroll in and chat to us. Many people may have not realised that support was available to them; or may have felt perhaps too intimidated to make the first phone call. Seeing a friendly face is sometimes just what people need.
It showed us the importance of a friendly welcome, a warm cup of tea and a listening ear. Sometimes it is just too hard for families to reach out to a service and that is exactly why we should reach out to them.
We spoke to people who had made a special trip to talk to us. Others were more spontaneous, drawn in by the posters outside the venue, curious to see what was inside.
One person we spoke to had only been bereaved two days previous, he told us, ‘I was just walking past, I didn’t even know this event was on, this is just what I needed’, our presence here a lucky chance.
We were very happy to hear many heartfelt, positive comments from people who had previously accessed our service or who routinely referred to us. It is reassuring to know that we are making a difference and giving hope to grieving children.
It was a great opportunity for us as Practitioners to get out and meet people. To challenge the taboo around death, to talk about our services, to provide impromptu support and to bring alive for people exactly what we do and who we are.
For more information about Winston’s Wish and the support we provide bereaved children and young people, please call our Freephone National Helpline on 08088 020 021.