By Sam Tyrer, Managing Director – Funeralcare and Rebecca Birkbeck, Director of Community and Shared Value 

We’re pleased to announce we’ve joined together with Cruse Bereavement Support to launch a new partnership, which aims to help people to talk about death and grief more openly, as the nation continues to emerge from the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic. As part of our vision, Co-operating for a Fairer World, we hope to empower people in their local communities to provide everyday bereavement support to those who’ve experienced a loss. 

Funded by Co-op members through the Co-op’s Community Partnership Fund, the partnership will help ensure our communities have the right resources and support available, so that people are able to have supportive conversations and bereaved people in the UK aren’t dealing with grief alone. It’ll help us deliver our community mission to provide fairer access to mental wellbeing support.

This partnership builds on the great work our Funeralcare colleagues do every day supporting our clients, and adds to our Funeralcare aftercare journey – helping us to support our clients before, during and after arranging a funeral.

Why we’ve partnered with Cruse

New research conducted by YouGov sadly shows a lot of people feel unprepared when it comes to supporting someone who’s experienced the death of a loved one.

Some key findings from YouGov’s research showed:

  • more than four in ten (43%) British adults are worried about saying the wrong thing to someone after a bereavement, with a third (32%) saying that don’t know how to start a conversation after a bereavement
  • nearly half of Brits (49%) who haven’t experienced a bereavement admit to being unprepared in knowing how to help a bereaved friend or relative
  • one in eight (12%) have actively gone out of their way to avoid someone who’s grieving because they don’t know what to say to them

Three in five (60%) also said that their community hadn’t helped them deal with their grief and three in ten (29%) felt they didn’t have access to the right support. We know from our recent Together Through Tough Times research the vital role that communities can play in supporting the mental wellbeing of those who have been bereaved.

Use our guides and resources to support yourself and others in your community

Together, we’ve created helpful resources, including a series of mini videos and a downloadable guide, so local communities can provide everyday bereavement support to those who have experienced a loss – including important issues such as understanding, normalising and identifying the signs of grief and knowing how the community can provide support.

We know our Funeralcare colleagues look for ways to make a real lasting difference to the families they support in their toughest hours. These resources will help and can be used by anyone to support each other such as colleagues, friends and family, people in your community or with clients who have been bereaved.

You can find our free resources on our online community centre, Co-operate. The new resources will also be shared with communities right across the UK.

What’s next?

Later this year, the partnership will be live in four local communities across the UK to offer face-to-face workshops on how to support people with grief, and knowing how and when to signpost to more formal support.

This partnership will complement how Co-op already supports the local community, such as through our Local Community FundMember Pioneers and Co-operate. We know getting involved in communities can provide a source of connection, routine and meaning to a person following the death of someone close. 

Colleague support 

We’ve also been working closely with Cruse and our People team to create a guide for managers, a pack for colleagues who are affected by grief and a number of practical guides which cover areas such as returning to work following a bereavement and talking to someone who’s bereaved and where to get more help. You can view the new information here.

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. The partnership with Cruse is wonderful to hear about.
    One of my current local community causes is an amazing foundation called Be More Ben, established in 2018 by parents Sarah and Ben Pritchard following the death of their son Ben who was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer at 7 years old and who died 6 months later.
    This charity was set up to enhance bereavement support services such as Cruse for families, including parents, siblings and grandparents affected by the death of a child under the age of 18. It offers access to counselling and alternative therapies, meet ups and online meetings for bereaved families enabling them to build their own social networks, social activities and treats for families and it works within the local community.
    Further details can be found on their Facebook page The Benjamin Pritchard Foundation
    They are very keen to extend their support services further. If anybody has any ideas on how this could be achieved, please do make contact.

  2. This will be a much needed and great partnership. I am The Mental Health First Aider for transport nights at our depot. I am also a School Governor for a special Needs school where we have a similar partnership in place.
    Due to the complex disabilities of our children we lose on average 5-8 children a year before they reach the age of 18. I have seen first hand how this kind of partnership works for our school staff and parents and welcome this with open arms.

  3. Great partnership – really impactful work

  4. This is such a wonderful partnership, exciting to see if launch and develop over the coming months.

  5. Really exciting partnership – good to see.

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