Bereavement services across Cornwall have united to create a new Cornwall Bereavement Network website and helpline.
In response to COVID-19, organisations from across Cornwall have been meeting virtually to accelerate their plans for a joined-up approach to bereavement services across Cornwall, so that people who suffer the loss of a loved one can quickly and easily find information.
Around 85 organisations have already signed up to the network including counselling services, hospice care, funeral services, NHS and council services, support groups, faith groups, and professional support services.
Cornwall Bereavement Network’s first meeting took place in January 2020, the aim of which was to help people affected by bereavement access the right support. It soon became apparent that there was a requirement, across Cornwall, for a central resource where professionals could cross-refer and learn more about the bereavement services available in the region.
Becky Thomas from Penhaligon’s Friends, a charity to support bereaved children and their families, initiated the group. She said, “Our first meeting was very well attended. We discussed the requirement to have contingencies in place should a local or national crisis occur. A month later, Coronavirus arrived in the UK. As a result, we have held weekly virtual meetings to find a way to make it easier for those affected by COVID-19 to access support.”
The network has collaborated to provide a new website, created and hosted by Atlantic Rest Natural Burial, which lists bereavement services across Cornwall and also provides some useful resources.
Two telephone helplines have been set up. The Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust is hosting a helpline to offer practical support immediately following a bereavement, and Cornwall Hospice Care is hosting a bereavement helpline to signpost to emotional support services.
Becky Thomas said, “The Coronavirus has already resulted in untimely deaths. It has changed how we support those who are ill and how we mourn them. We all hope that our services aren’t in high demand, but for those who do find themselves bereaved, we want to make sure there is a support network out there and that services can be accessed easily.
“This huge collaborative effort from Cornwall Bereavement Network is a big step forward in providing a more unified approach, not just for the immediate crisis, but long-term for those who find themselves bereaved, for whatever reason.”
The new website address is www.cornwallbereavementnetwork.org.
To access practical information immediately following bereavement contact 01872 252713, 9am-4pm, Monday to Friday.
For signposting to emotional support services contact 01726 829874 – lines open 10am-6pm, 7 days a week. EDIT - please note that the new hours for this line are 10am - 4pm, Monday to Friday.