Here at The Loss Foundation we have been running support groups for people bereaved by cancer since early 2011.
We have learned a lot about bereavement and one thing we have learned above all others is that bereavement is a very personal experience; as much as some people may have similar experiences, how somebody responds and reacts is a personal thing. Often we do not choose to respond the way we do, it just happens.
Despite the similarities and differences between peoples’ experiences of bereavement, we have had repeated feedback from our members that meeting others who have experienced something similar is a really helpful activity. Our main platform for this has been through providing support groups. However, in October 2013 we ran our first bereavement retreat, which attendees found hugely beneficial. The feedback from the attendees was that being able to talk to others informally and within a social context was a very helpful experience.
Based on your feedback, we have introduced monthly social gatherings since February 2014. The social gatherings are for anybody experiencing bereavement who would like to meet up with others who have experienced something similar. As of March 2015 the coffee morning socials became inclusive for all types of bereavement, not just people who have lost loved ones to cancer. We have expanded our remit for the social gatherings as we get contacted by lots of people in need of support, and it is against our ethos to turn people away in their time of need.
The social gatherings are informal. A few of our team members will be there to chat to you and are always happy to answer any questions you have. However, in the same way as our support groups – the space is there for you to use it as you need. Maybe you just want to come along for a coffee and not speak about bereavement – that is welcome too.
Our first social was a coffee morning at The Villandry in Great Portland Street in February 2014. Many coffees and cakes were consumed! Since then we have met on a monthly basis at beautiful cafes around London, including the National Gallery Café, the Tate Modern café, and the Royal Academy of Arts café.
The format of the social gatherings may change over time based on your feedback – it is important to us that our services continuously evolve to meet your needs. They will also change according to the weather – if it is sunny we will aim to be outdoors. If you have any suggestions please get in touch with us via our Contact page.