Cruse Bereavement Care provides support, information and advice to anyone who has been bereaved, whenever, wherever and however the death occurred. We provide face to face support in groups or 1:1, support by email and telephone and are the largest provider of bereavement support to children and young people. A national Helpline operates Monday – Friday. Some Areas run specialist support groups including for those bereaved by suicide. Support is delivered by nearly 6000 trained volunteers, across 75 local centres in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Our mission is to offer support, advice and information to children, young people and adults when someone dies and to enhance society’s care of bereaved people.
Our vision is to ensure that everyone has somewhere to turn when someone dies. Cruse is a registered charity no 208078 and a Company Limited by Guarantee.
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How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?
Through the range of services we currently deliver to bereaved people which are face to face support either 1:1 or in groups; telephone support; email support; services for children and young people. Also through improved information on our website.
Through delivery of the joint Cruse Bereavement Care/Samaritans project, entitled Facing the Future, we will be able to support those bereaved by suicide with the combined expertise of Cruse Bereavement Care and Samaritans. Following a successful pilot in London 2011 we are aiming to roll out the free service to four areas (Coventry, York, Sussex and London) by the Summer 2015 and to a further 3 areas next year and eventual national coverage.
Experienced Samaritans and Cruse volunteers will jointly facilitate a 6 week course/support group for those bereaved by suicide. A maximum of 8 people (over 18 years old) will attend each 90 minute sessions.
Evaluation from our pilot groups showed that all participants would recommend the groups to others and that attendance of the groups had a significant and positive impact on their emotional wellbeing.
What are your current priorities?
Cruse is extending the range of support services available to bereaved people by ensuring they can receive support in a way they find helpful. We are also developing and improving information on the website to help bereaved people help themselves and know how to access support they need.
The Facing the Future partnership between Cruse Bereavement Care and Samaritans for people bereaved by suicide will be available to four areas in England in the Summer 2015. Both organisations are currently in the process of finalising volunteer training and establishing a joint way of working in order to roll out the service as soon as possible.
Our Facing the Future website will act as a suicide bereavement resource and booking system where individuals will be able to express their interest before they are allocated to a specific support group that is local to them. The website is currently being tested and fine-tuned and will be launched tentatively at the beginning of April 2015.
Our bespoke Facing the Future training programme for facilitators will be delivered for a second time in May 2015 to ensure that we have enough volunteers across both organisations to deliver support groups in four locations in 2015. Feedback from facilitators has been extremely good.
An action plan is being devised to ensure partnership working / signposting at national and local level is a key part of the Facing the Future project. We will be engaging with the relevant national and local organisations in order to provide appropriate support for those bereaved by suicide.
What challenges are you currently facing?
Our 5 year strategy (to 2018) is to ensure all local Areas in Cruse offer each of the 5 services outlined above. This has been achieved in some Areas and will take longer in others.
The process of implementing the Facing the Future service has several challenges, namely:
- The development of a national booking system (website) that still feels personal.
- Effective local and national promotion.
- Effective signposting and referral system.
- Training of volunteer force across both Cruse Bereavement Care and Samaritans.
- On-going identification of suitable areas in the country where the project could be implemented.
- Development of policies and procedures across two different organisation.