Help for bereaved people in Fenland

Rachel who is a bereavement counsellor.
Rachel who is a bereavement counsellor.
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Bereaved people in Fenland are now getting the help they need after a leading charity resumed its face-to-face support and is now recruiting more volunteers.

CRUSE, the bereavement charity, was forced to suspend its one-to-one support in March, Chatteris, Wisbech and surrounding villages earlier this year due to a shortage of trained volunteers and an ever-growing waiting list.

MP for North East Cambs, Steve Barclay, highlighted the need for better bereavement care as part of his “Treat me local” health campaign and called on local health providers to help fund training courses for would-be counsellors.

Now the charity has announced it is able to resume its bereavement support to all people on the waiting list.

It has also partially resumed its bereavement support service with phone support, emails and booklets.

One-to-one support may also be available, however some clients may have to be prepared to wait longer than they would usually expect – between two to six months.

Mr Barclay said: “This is great news. Lack of treatment can lead to further patient harm for those who have not had an opportunity for counselling following the loss of a loved one.”

CRUSE is also holding a volunteer training course to attract and train additional volunteers to work in the Fenland area.

This course will start at March Youth and Community Centre on Saturday, February 28, and will run for eight Saturdays (non-consecutive) finishing on May 16.

Open events are being held at the Rosmini Centre, Wisbech, on Saturday, November 15, from 2.30pm-4pm, and the March Youth and Community Centre on Monday, November 17, from 7pm-9pm for anyone wishing to find out more about training.

Rachel, who prefers not to be identified for privacy reasons, has been a CRUSE volunteer for seven years and also takes the training course for new recruits.

She said: “People may think they are not qualified for the role, but you don’t need any formal qualifications, you just need to attend the training course. What you do need is a sense of humour, an interest in people and the ability to listen.

“Anyone of any age can be a volunteer, although it is advisable that anyone volunteering hasn’t suffered a close bereavement themselves within the last two years.

“It is a very rewarding role. You can be helping someone come to terms with a recent loss, or one that happened years ago which they have never dealt with properly.”

Clients are able to access these services by telephoning the specialised Helpline Volunteers on 01223 633536.

For further information and an application form, call 01223 302662 or email