Twelve volunteer Supporters completed their Cruse Bereavement Care training programme in December, which will enable the charity to help more people in south Kent who are struggling to cope with the loss of loved ones or close friends in 2014. The latest round of training took place in Hawkinge, near Folkestone, and was part funded by a grant of £3000 from the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust.
Support for those who are bereaved is usually available from close family and friends, but Cruse volunteers respond to individuals’ requests and step in wherever conventional support networks either break down or are unable to provide the comfort that is needed.
Chairman of South Kent Cruse, Carol Bursey, said: “For most people the Christmas period is a time to look forward to, when families get together to enjoy an extended holiday. But for many, Christmas brings painful memories; it is a time when the absence of someone close is particularly hard to bear, and this is where we at Cruse can provide comfort.
“Unfortunately there has been a shortage of trained Supporters, particularly in the Shepway area over the past few years, and Cruse has needed to draft in volunteers from other areas to help provided the service that is needed. So we need to recruit more volunteers who can be trained to provide help for those who are recently bereaved or who are finding it difficult to cope with their loss as an important anniversary or other such date approaches.”
Working as a Bereavement Supporter for Cruse can be as rewarding for volunteers as it is helpful to clients. Recent graduates of the training programme have spoken of the fulfilment they get from giving up their time to help people: “We are trained to be able to listen to people and help them through their most anxious moments after bereavement, and to offer practical advice about how to cope,” said one counsellor; “nearly all of us will have lost someone very close to us at some time in our lives, but Cruse counselling helps by providing empathy and by suggesting ways for people to come to terms with their loss.”
South Kent Cruse would like to hear from people who would be interested in training as a volunteer supporter. They can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com; further information is available on the Cruse website – www.cruse.org.uk