South London partnership launches bereavement helpline

Categories: Care, Community Engagement, and Featured.

Local organisations in south east London have partnered to launch the Greenwich & Bexley Bereavement Help-Point, a service which aims to provide timely and compassionate support for people who are bereaved at the most challenging of times.

While bereavement at any time is difficult, presenting people with feelings of isolation, despair, confusion and uncertainty, the disruption to normal life caused by Covid-19 is intensifying these emotions for many people.

The Greenwich & Bexley Bereavement Help-Point has been established by Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT), Cruse Bereavement Care, Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice, MetroGAVS, Mind, and South London Counselling Service, with input from both local authorities and the local NHS. Its aim is to help anyone living in the Royal Borough of Greenwich or London Borough of Bexley by offering emotional support and helping people to find appropriate practical support.

Trained counsellors provide support over the phone, as well as linking people in need with the appropriate service from local bereavement charities.

By working together, the combined services hope that when people contact the Help-Point they will receive a joined-up offer of support, with immediate access to trained counsellors who will be able to direct the person to the best support for them.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, most support will be provided on the telephone or online, however as social distancing measures evolve the service will adapt.

Kate Heaps, Chief Executive at Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice, commented on the new service: “I am so pleased we have been able to launch this collaboration; it feels so important to help people get through the distressing situations many people find themselves in as a result of this pandemic.

“Whatever your loved one has died with, we want to be able to support you, so many of our normal rituals and support mechanisms have been snatched from us through this awful virus and I know, from relatives of hospice patients, friends and others who are bereaved, how lonely this must make people feel. If we can make things just a tiny bit better through this partnership, then I know that the partnership is worthwhile.”

Dr Winnie Kwan, Clinical Lead for End of Life Care in Bexley, added: “It is heart-warming to witness how quickly and effectively the different local agencies have come together, to join efforts in order to create a bereavement support service for people living in Greenwich & Bexley who have lost loved ones during this unprecedented Coronavirus pandemic.’

“We are living in a very challenging time, but we are in this together; although the counsellors are only able to make telephone or virtual contact with clients because we have to stay vigilant, this service is still invaluable in enabling bereaved people to be connected and supported. It can provide a life-line.”

For more information visit Greenwich & Bexley Bereavement Help-Point