Equipping churches in bereavement support

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Equipping churches in bereavement support

Published: 25 October 2023
A grant of more than £92,500 has been awarded to the charity, AtaLoss, to equip churches to support bereaved people in their communities and prevent further mental health issues developing.
Benefact Trust’s Community Impact Grant will support the bereavement charity’s Loss and HOPE project for three years, training and equipping churches to provide bereavement support for their communities, in particular its acclaimed 7-session bereavement support programme, The Bereavement Journey, which has already helped thousands of people. 
Our funding comes at a time when churches are recognising the need to provide real support to bereaved people in their community, helping them to address their grief and prevent further mental health issues arising.
AtaLoss’ ecumenical Loss and HOPE project was launched in May 2020 to address an already burgeoning bereavement support need, just as the country went into lockdown. The charity quickly turned to offering The Bereavement Journey support online, and continued through the pandemic, adapting the programme and training leaders to run the course in their own locations. This model proved very effective, with churches reporting outstanding feedback, confident referrals from GP’s, social prescribers, and funeral directors and 80 to 100% of attendees being from outside church. 
The final, optional session on ‘faith in bereavement’ also proved popular. This had been added by Founder Revd Canon Yvonne Richmond Tulloch, who had herself been bereaved, to address the faith questions bereaved people commonly ask. Churches reported that more than 90% of attendees chose to attend the session, with many continuing to engage with faith and church. 
Revd Canon Yvonne Richmond Tulloch, said: “Bereavement support has long been neglected in our society, with millions of people feeling isolated and suppressing their grief.  There’s little funding for this emerging issue and supporting people at such times is not only compassionate but can prevent many problems developing. Donations last year enabled us to update The Bereavement Journey material to help people process past as well as present losses and ensure the materials are accessible to all. This funding will be instrumental in enabling us to help churches across the land bring healing to their communities in a new and wanted way.  Bereavement support has the potential for social transformation as well as church growth.”
The Bereavement Journey is packaged to enable Christians to quickly and easily run the programme in any setting in person or online. Find out more about the training and resources available on the Loss and HOPE website.

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