04:14PM, Tuesday 11 January 2022
Co-Connect counselling team
Thames Hospice has secured funding through the National Lottery to provide a new bereavement counselling service.
The Bray Lake charity has received the 'significant' cash boost through the lottery's Community Fund.
Called Co-Connect, the service launched this month and will offer support to adults across Berkshire and South Bucks whose bereavement has been impacted by the pandemic.
Since 2020, many people who have been bereaved of a loved one have experienced additional distress and complexity in their bereavement, while for some, COVID-19 was a cause of death for their loved one.
Pandemic circumstances restricting care and visits when loved one were alive have also made the bereavement process more difficult.
Simon Smith, head of counselling support services at Thames Hospice, is leading the two-year project.
He said: “Thames Hospice has always provided counselling and bereavement support and we are so grateful to have been given a new and significant opportunity, through National Lottery funding, to make a difference to hundreds of people in our community whose bereavement has been adversely affected by COVID-19.
“Many local families are in great need of urgent bereavement support to recover and move forward from their experience of complicated grief.
"Co-Connect will enable my highly-skilled counselling team to respond quickly and deliver therapeutic support towards improved mental health, wellbeing and resilience for local families who have faced bereavement in these times.”
Co-Connect is expected to support 400 beneficiaries over two years through one-to-one and support group sessions to improve mental health and wellbeing.
The new service will work alongside local hospitals, community services and charities, and is hoped to relieve pressures on the NHS and other bereavement support agencies.
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