The care of St Catherine’s doesn’t stop when a loved one has died – we’re here to support loved ones through bereavement, and to provide opportunities for our community to remember and reflect together.
Bereavement support is offered through all of our community and hospice-based teams and involves various different people including doctors, nurses, social workers, volunteer chaplains and volunteer counsellors.
It’s important to remember that there is no set timescale for bereavement and everyone’s experience is different. The Bereavement Support Team therefore provides a number of different ways to help, working either on a one-to-one basis or in a group – whichever people feel best meets their needs.
Bereavement Support Drop-in
This group has been running at St Catherine’s since the hospice first opened and is known to some as ‘Catherine’s Wheel’.
The group provides mutual support to bereaved people and is open to anyone who is bereaved, not just those known to St Catherine’s Hospice.
It has an informal structure in that there are themes to some sessions or occasionally speakers attend, but most often the group simply meets for a coffee and a chat.
The meetings are held at the hospice on the second Wednesday of each month from 7.30pm to 9pm.
Bereavement therapy group
This is a ‘closed’ group which means that once the group has started no one else can join. This brings a sense of stability and reassurance to members.
A new group is established annually and bereaved people known to the hospice and local palliative care teams are invited. It runs for seven sessions on a fortnightly basis and is facilitated by the hospice’s social workers and in conjunction with Vine House, another local charity in Preston.
The sessions take the form of structured meetings in that each has a theme relating to bereavement and general well-being. It offers members the opportunity to explore grief in a safe, supportive environment.
Bereavement counselling can be provided if requested.
The Hospice is an organisational member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and we also have volunteer counsellors who give their time to support our families and loved ones.
If you declined Bereavement Support at the time of your loved one’s death but now feel you need some support, please contact the hospice and ask to speak to the Support Team.
Remembrance and reflection
St Catherine’s Park – including the hospice and The Mill – are welcoming, accessible places where we want our community to feel welcome at any time, particularly as a place where family members can come to remember their loved ones.
We also organise a number of events throughout the year which are opportunities for people to join together in remembrance and reflection. We hope this helps people feel less alone in their loss, whilst also doing something positive to support St Catherine’s.
Our remembrance events include:
- Light Up A Life each December – when the festive lights around St Catherine’s Park symbolise the lives of those who will be missing from our Christmas celebrations. For more information click here. To make a dedication, click here.
- Yellow Ribbons each June – when yellow ribbons are tied around the grounds in memory of loved ones.
- The Moonlight and Memories Walk each June/July – when supporters stride out under the stars in memory of their loved ones, raising vital sponsorship for St Catherine’s with every step. To sign up for the 2020 event, click here.
Bereavement benefits are available to some widows/widowers and civil partners, dependent on both whether you are below state pension age, and on the deceased person’s national insurance contributions.
If you have difficulties with funeral expenses there is financial help available via the Social Fund called a Funeral Grant, dependent on if you are in receipt of certain benefits.
There is a time limit for claiming bereavement benefits and funeral grants and it would be beneficial to take advice from your local job centre as soon as possible, as a delay may disqualify you from claiming.
Also, when someone dies in your household and they are in receipt of state benefits – inclusive of retirement pensions – it may be that you need to have your own benefits reviewed, including housing benefit and council tax. We therefore suggest you seek advice from your local council, Welfare Rights, your local Job Centre, Pensions Service and Bereavement Advice Centre.
Bereavement support for children and young people
We work with Vine House in Preston to offer bereavement support to children and young people through the Stride project.
Using a variety of creative tools, along with one-to-one support from trained counselling staff, children and young people and their families are supported through dealing with their sadness and loss.
For further information, download the flyer here.