Our charity has been providing free support groups around London for people who have lost their loved ones to cancer since early 2011. The aim of the support groups is to create regular spaces for people to share stories and experiences with others who have experienced a similar kind of loss.
We run open self-help support groups. That might sound like a bit of a mouthful, but it basically means that people can attend our groups as and when they need to rather than having to sign up to a certain number of sessions.
Although our sessions are facilitated by psychologists, doctors and other professionals, the support groups are not formally therapeutic. This means that we do not provide formal therapy or follow specific structures or themes.
We have learned that our sessions are much more helpful when we address the topics and emotions that arise for our attendees on the day instead of us planning to talk about planned themes or issues. We know that coping with grief can be an unpredictable journey, and therefore, we think it is better to deal with whatever feels most prominent to you month to month.
Click here for the full list of dates and times of our London and Oxford support groups.
What happens in a support group session?
Our support group sessions run from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. We most typically spend the time sharing our experiences in our confidential and non-judgmental space, although sometimes we end up just catching up over coffee and cake too (speaking informally with others in a similar position to you can feel hugely relieving). People attending the group tend to share memories and experiences, both happy and sad, however, there is no rules about having to speak. You are more than welcome to attend and just listen.
We occasionally have speakers, some of whom specialize in bereavement, some of whom have been bereaved and written books on their experiences, some of whom are just inspirational talkers, and all will be announced on our website as and when they are booked. We provide free refreshments in each session – there is always a delicious homemade cake (or two!) to go around.
We also have a growing library in our support groups with a variety of books on bereavement and information leaflets. Most of our books are recommendations from attendees. You are more than welcome to borrow a book or two and bring them back when you have finished them – there is no rush to return them the following month.
Click on one of our four locations below to find out more information on where our groups are and how to access them.
When?: We meet every 3rd Monday of the month at the Vale Community Centre in North West London, between 6:30pm – 8:30pm.
Venue: Vale Community Centre, 1 Pentland Close, Carlton Vale, South Kilburn, London, NW6 5RT
Public Transport: The nearest tube station is Kilburn Park (Bakerloo line), which is a ten-minute walk away. This is the most popular option. Parking: The community centre has limited parking facilities, the centre has only a handful of spaces. However, cars are able to park for free after 6:30pm in surrounding roads.
When? We meet every 2nd Tuesday of the month at sofa.com’s Bankside branch between 7.30pm – 9pm.
Venue? sofa.com, 3 Burrell Street, London, SE1 0UN. (You’ll find the venue nestled in a quiet old railway arch).
Theme? Each month we will be running a different theme to try to meet the needs of people who want more specific support. Theme details will be shown on the Events page.
Public Transport: sofa.com’s Bankside branch is a 5 minute walk from Southwark (Jubilee line) and Blackfriars (District and Circle line) tube stations. It is also a 10 minute walk from Waterloo and London Bridge stations.
When?: We meet every 1st Wednesday of the month at St. Margaret’s House in Bethnal Green between 6:30 – 8:30 pm.
Venue: The Cabin, St Margaret’s House, Old Ford Road, London E2 9PL. (The Cabin is down a walkway to the left of The Gallery Cafe, look out for number 15 & 17 Old Ford Road, go through the gates and around to The Cabin. Signs will be out to guide you.)
Public Transport: The nearest station is Bethanl Green (Central line), which is a five minute walk away.
Parking: There is no parking available at the venue. However, you are able to park in local roads free of charge after 5:30pm.
Back to locations
When?: We meet every 2nd Monday of the month between 6:30pm – 8:30pm.
Venue: Kendrew Lodge, St John’s College, St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JP
Directions: Walk up St Giles away from the city center. About 50 meters past the lamb and flag pub it is the first set of metal grey gates on your right opposite the war memorial.