How often do you hold support group sessions?

We are not currently hosting any support groups in person, but we look forward to returning to hosting those. We are currently running several online support groups per month, with separate events for people bereaved by cancer or coronavirus.

Please see our Calendar of Support Events by clicking here.

Where are the support group meetings held?

We used to host our in-person support groups across London and Oxford but are unable to host those due to the coronavirus pandemic. Currently all of our support events are available to access online.

Please see our Calendar of Support Events by clicking here.

How long are the support group meetings?

Our online support groups last 1.5 hours. They start at 7pm and close at 8:30pm. Please note we are not able to admit latecomers when the group is underway as latecomers will have missed the important introductions and guidelines for the session.

Can I arrive late at a support group session?

Please note we are not able to admit latecomers when the group is underway. Our facilitators start the group sessions by introducing themselves and covering some guidelines about how the groups run, which we would not want anyone to miss out on.

If you know you are going to arrive late we ask you to reconsider coming along on that occasion out of respect for other attendees. At the same time, we know that things happen that are out of our control and that you may have tried to arrive on time – our facilitators will admit you to the session if they have not finished the introductions.

What happens in a support group session?

We pride our group sessions on being shaped by the people who come along. After all, these are peer support groups. We also know that coping with grief can be an unpredictable experience, and therefore, we think it is better to deal with whatever feels most prominent on the day.

We do not impose agendas in our general support groups and instead talk about whatever you have come along to talk about on the day. Typically, we spend some time sharing our experiences in our confidential and non-judgmental spaces. We share memories, thoughts, feelings, worries and more.

Although this is a peer led support service we do have some members of our team at every event to help facilitate. Our facilitators are there to set up the support sessions, pass on guidelines about the sessions, to try to make sure everybody who wants to talk gets the opportunity to do so, to signpost you to other support, and most importantly, to compassionately listen and support you.

Why was The Loss Foundation set up?

The Loss Foundation was set up after a personal experience brought to light the lack of support available for people grieving the loss of a loved one to cancer. Our Founder, Erin Hope Thompson, lost her father to cancer in 2008, and witnessed the struggle that her family members experienced coming to terms with their loss. Erin was struck by the lack of support for people who lose their loved ones to cancer. After all, when a loved one passes away, those left behind are often left with a very empty space and often no idea how to fill it, or even how to pull through to a more manageable state of mind.

Erin sought some financial support, and after recruiting a dedicated and hard-working team, running focus groups, speaking to other professionals and support groups, The Loss Foundation was born in November 2010 and became a registered charity in 2012. Our support group sessions started in April 2011.

Do the support groups provide therapy?

Our support groups are self-help peer groups. This means that we do not provide formal therapy in those sessions, but instead create an environment where we can share experiences informally. This allows for our groups to provide long-term support, rather than a strict number of therapy sessions. And it also allows for our groups to be of a drop-in nature – people can drop in as and when they feel is necessary, or attend every session.

Our groups are run by psychologists and other health-professionals all of whom are psychologically minded and trained to recognise if people would benefit from further support, which you are welcome to ask us about.

In early 2016 we launched our therapy groups, which are different from our peer support groups. Our therapy groups are 7 sessions long and involve a set programme of bereavement support.  Details on our next therapeutic groups can be found HERE.

Please sign up to our mailing list to be kept up to date with our next therapy groups via the Contact page.

Can I volunteer for The Loss Foundation?

We are always happy to hear from others who would like to join our team.

We recruit volunteers on an annual basis to help run our support events. New volunteers enter our training programme run by Clinical Psychologists. We often get interest from people who are looking to learn more about bereavement and mental health, but we also welcome applicants from all walks of life.

If you are interested in volunteering with us to run our support events please email hello@thelossfoundation.org with your CV and letter of interest.

We also occasionally need help with a variety of other tasks, both practical and creative. Practical tasks include taking some of our leaflets to your local GP surgery, speaking about your experience of our support at events, carrying out some fundraising activities, and more.

Creative tasks include reading and reviewing suggested bereavement books for us, writing articles of your experiences for our website, or helping us develop the charity in ways we haven’t yet ventured. All of these tasks can be therapeutic in themselves. If you are interested in helping the charity, please get in touch at hello@thelossfoundation.org

I work for a similar organisation. Can I come along to observe a group?

We get a lot of requests from people and organisations about observing our group sessions so they can learn about our model of support. Unfortunately, we are unable to have observers at our sessions as we prioritise creating a private and confidential space for our attendees.

Is the Loss Foundation a crisis service?

Please note that we are not a crisis service, so if you are in need of immediate support please do reach out to Samaritans who provide immediate listening support. They can be reached on 116 123.

Can I donate to The Loss Foundation?

Yes, donations are always welcome, and will go towards funding our bereavement support services and spreading awareness of our support. If you would like to make a donation you can press the Donate tab at the top of the page or click here.

You can give a one-off donation or sign up to donate monthly via Direct Debit.

Many thanks for your generosity.

Who is The Loss Foundation for?

The Loss Foundation is in existence to support any adult bereaved by cancer. All who have lost a partner, family member, friend or acquaintance to cancer are welcome. We welcome people from same-sex relationships, and people from all cultures and religions.

Since the start of the pandemic we have also opened our support to those bereaved by coronavirus, supporting all adults who have lost a loved one to Covid.

Do you only support people bereaved by cancer?

Yes and no… At this stage our support groups are for people who have lost loved ones to cancer. We have learned that specificity is something that people value in the support they receive. According to research and the feedback we get from our members, specificity is what encourages people to turn up and return to our support groups because they tie in more closely with their experiences.

However, we have opened up to providing support for people bereaved by coronavirus as a way of supporting the pandemic as best we can.

We are increasingly being contacted by people who are keen for group support when they have losses other than cancer or covid. It is against our ethos to shut our doors to people in their time of need. If you are not bereaved by cancer or covid but in need of bereavement support please feel free to get in touch with us and we will help you as best we can. We may be able to help you find another service that would be better placed at meeting your needs and supporting you.

If you would like to be kept up to date with our support updates, you can subscribe to our mailing list on our Contact page.

Do you provide help in ways other than support groups?

Yes we do! We know that support groups are not everyone’s cup-of-tea. Our support has continued to evolve according to our members’ feedback and requests. One example of this is our social events, in which we meet once a month to connect with others who have experienced something similar but not in a group support format, whether it be over a coffee, a walk in the park, a museum visit, or something else. At the moment we are hosting these informal get togethers online. For more information and upcoming meeting dates, see our Events pages.

We also host therapy groups and grief support workshops too. You can read about these by clicking here. 

We also run a 1-2-1 support service called Connect. In Connect we match you for a 1-2-1 conversation with someone who has a similar loss to you. You can find out more by clicking here. 

We also run bereavement retreats throughout the year, which provide a mixture of supportive activities, including groups chats, one-to-one time with psychologists, country walks, meditations, arts and crafts, and delicious meals. We will revisit hosting these as soon as we can in the future.

Who runs the charity?

Our charity is run by a mixture of psychologists and other professionals. See our Meet the Team page for more information. We also have a Charity Board who oversee the big decisions for the charity and guide it’s direction for the future. You can find more information on our Board members on our Meet the Team page.

I'm nervous about attending. Should I come along?

It is very normal to feel nervous about attending a group event. It can be scary to seek support, and to share / hear from others. Beyond introducing your name and who you lost to the group you will never be forced to talk, so it’s perfectly ok to just come along and listen and see how you feel.

Most people who feel apprehensive about attending a support group are pleasantly surprised. We have had a lot of feedback from people over the years about how nervous they had been to attend but how beneficial they found it.

Next Events

27/09 September 27 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
02/10 October 2 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm