West Essex and East Hertfordshire charity, St Clare Hospice, is now enabling people in Harlow, Dunmow, Epping and Saffron Walden to connect with others and access in-person Bereavement support with the return of its Bereavement Cafés.
Bereavement Café events offer a space for people experiencing loss and bereavement to meet and connect with other local people who have had similar experiences to their own. It is a safe place to speak openly about their experiences, or just be in the company of others who understand. Anyone who has experienced the loss of someone close to them, no matter how recent or long ago, is welcome to attend a Bereavement Café event. It’s completely free to attend.
During the pandemic, the Hospice moved its Bereavement Cafés online, in order to carry on connecting and supporting people through their grief. Since July 2021, the Hospice has been taking cautious steps to return to offer this support on an in-person basis, trialling Bereavement Cafés on a weekly basis at the Hospice and subsequently returning to other locations locally.
There are now three in-person Bereavement Cafés running, with three more opening next month:
- St Clare Hospice, Hastingwood Road, Hastingwood, Essex, CM17 9JX – every Friday, 2pm – 3.30pm
- Old Park Meadow Natural Burial Ground, Coppice Lane, North End, Nr Great Dunmow CM6 3PL 3rd Wednesday of the month, 10am – 11.30am
- Potter Street Baptist Church, Harlow, 98 Potter Street, Harlow CM17 9AW – Last Saturday of the month, 10am – 11.30am
- Youth Bereavement Café (aged 18-30), Phoenix Lounge, 3rd Floor, Harvey Centre, Harlow – 1st Thursday of the month STARTING 4th NOVEMBER 7pm – 8.30pm
- Hemnall Street Social Club, 50 Hemnall Street, Epping, CM16 4LS – 2nd Monday of the month STARTING 8TH NOVEMBER, 10am – 11.30am
- Salvation Army, 5 Abbey Lane, Saffron Walden CB10 1AG – 3rd Thursday of the month STARTING 18th NOVEMBER, 10am – 2pm
“We’re delighted to be offering our Bereavement Cafés in person again,” said Fiona Venus, Bereavement Support Services Manager, at St Clare Hospice. “Although our online communities have been a fantastic way of helping people experiencing grief to stay connected, especially through previous lockdowns, we know that some people find it easier to open up and share their experiences with others when they are in the same room.”
People who have used the Hospice’s Bereavement services have said that they’ve been able to return to work; felt more confident, less isolated and more supported; developed new support networks and made genuine friendships. One Bereavement Café attendee, Margaret, said:
“The first day I came over I was so nervous, but by the end of the afternoon I was so happy that I came. And every week after that. The cafe has helped me a lot and although I don’t feel the need to come every week now I have made some very good friends and we get support with each other. I feel I have slightly moved on a tiny bit with my life.”
St Clare Hospice is continuing to run its online Bereavement Café communities, in tandem with the in-person Cafés, both as thriving Facebook groups and as Zoom meetings. More information on these can be found on the Hospice’s website: stclarehospice.org.uk/bereavement-cafe
Photo Caption: St Clare Hospice’s Bereavement Cafés are returning in person.
About St Clare Hospice:
St Clare Hospice is a charity providing specialist palliative care for people living with terminal or life-limiting illnesses across West Essex and East Herts border. We care for patients and their families, providing physical, emotional, social, psychological and spiritual support, and ensuring they have timely access to skilled, compassionate and sensitive care in a place of their choice. Our services are free of charge to those who need our care, but cost around £5 million a year to run. With limited NHS funding we need to fundraise the majority of this each year through donations and other voluntary sources.