“Many people affected by grief just want to talk”: an update from our partner, Sue Ryder
Earlier this year, Sue Ryder launched their first Grief Kind Spaces, giving grieving people an opportunity to come together in person and share their experiences in a welcoming and supportive environment.
Over the last few months, they have opened several new spaces in the areas around Sue Ryder hospices and palliative care hubs, and these new services are already having a positive impact for attendees.
They opened the doors to the first Sue Ryder Grief Kind Spaces in March, and now have seven Spaces up and running across the country: in Milton Ernest, Stamford, Cheltenham, Thatcham, Bourne, Gloucester and Moggerhanger.
Grief Kind Spaces are weekly drop-in sessions held in the local community, which are designed to provide a safe, inclusive and supportive place for grieving people to come together in person and share their feelings and experiences, helping them to feel heard and less alone.
Each session is run by trained volunteers, who have received training to support them in guiding compassionate conversations and providing signposting to relevant support.
Grief Kind Spaces are open to anyone over the age of 18 in the local community who has experienced a bereavement. The sessions are designed to give attendees a chance to access free and informal peer-to-peer bereavement support, whether they want to attend regularly to connect with others in similar situations or just drop in for a quick chat.
Soon, they will be opening two further Grief Kind Spaces in Bingley, West Yorkshire, and Skipton, North Yorkshire.
Andy Longden, Volunteer Coordinator at Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice in West Yorkshire, is supporting the opening of these new spaces, which he hopes will help to reduce the isolation and loneliness felt by many people following a bereavement:
Andy says, “Almost every home in the UK has or will experience the loss of someone, but Sue Ryder’s research has found that 86% of people who had been bereaved said they felt alone in their grief. I hope through our Grief Kind Spaces at Bingley and in Skipton, along with more Grief Kind Spaces opening across the country this year, we can meet this unfulfilled need.
“You don’t need to register and there’s no need to book. You don’t need to have received any support or care from Sue Ryder previously either. Just pop in to receive a warm welcome from our team of trained volunteers, who are there to listen if you have experienced any kind of loss at any time.”
Sue Ryder has already received some really encouraging feedback from those who have used Grief Kind Spaces. Attendees have commented on the value of “being able to open up”, “talking to someone who’s prepared to listen and been through the same/similar” and “knowing there’s something available when you need it”, demonstrating that the Spaces are already having a beneficial impact in the local community.
Volunteers Lisa Lodwig and Tabitha Gilchrist have shared an insight into their experiences supporting the Grief Kind Spaces, and shared what they find most rewarding about their role.
Lisa shared, “It feels great to support such an essential project. Many people affected by grief just want to talk and share stories with other people.
“The Grief Kind Space has not only given me the opportunity to meet members of the local community, but it has also given me a sense of value by lending an ear to listen, helping to foster new friendships and signposting people to o
ther useful resources.”
Tabitha agrees, “The Grief Kind Spaces initiative is so important, as having a place to meet others who
have been bereaved has been identified as agap.
“Being part of this project is so rewarding as it involves encouraging peer support rather than support by professionals, so it has the potential both to be sustainable but also for people to realise their own resourcefulness which is ultimately empowering.
“It feels like a privilege to be able to be involved at the start of the initiative and to have already seen it grow and develop.”
Sue Ryder Grief Kind Spaces are providing a valuable addition to their existing bereavement services, enabling them to support more people when they need it most.
To find out more about our partner Sue Ryder and Grief Kind Spaces, including the research which led to the creation of this new service, please click here.