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New bereavement support network launched for Cornwall’s residents

A new support network has been set up in Cornwall to help those affected by loss and bereavement to find support during and after the coronavirus pandemic.

Cornwall Bereavement Network is a collaborative initiative set-up by several partners from across Cornwall, including Cornwall Hospice Care, Penhaligon’s Friends, Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust (RCHT) and Cornwall Council. The new network, which is comprised of counselling services, hospice care, funeral services, NHS and council services, support groups, faith groups, and professional support services, is to designed to easily help people find information and guidance following on from the death of a loved one.

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The network brings together around 85 organisations from across Cornwall and will provide a vital tool for people at a time when social distancing rules may mean that they are unable to visit their loved ones in hospital or draw on their usual sources of support following on from a bereavement.

In addition to this, two telephone helplines have been set up to help residents to deal with bereavement during the coronavirus outbreak. RCHT 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.  

Councillor Mike Eathorne-Gibbons said: “During this difficult time, it is important that our residents are able to access the right level of support to talk about what’s happened to them and how they are feeling. This is true whether a loved one has died from Coronavirus, whether they are in the process of coming to terms with a death that happened before the pandemic, or if their loved one has died from a cause other than Coronavirus.

“Losing someone you know is difficult at any time, and so an initiative like the Cornwall Bereavement Network is essential in helping those who need it and reassuring them that they don’t have to go through the grieving process alone.”

Joint Lead Practitioner Specialist Palliative and End of Life Care at RCHT, Sue Adams said: “This is a wonderful initiative on the part of all those very important organisations who are instrumental in providing support for the bereaved. To see this sector pulling together to support people affected by bereavement at this time of great need, will make such a difference to so many families across Cornwall.”

Becky Thomas from Penhaligon’s Friends, a charity to support bereaved children and their families, initiated the group. She said: “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.”

Cornwall Bereavement Network can provide support to you over the phone:

  • 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.

 You can also get a range of local bereavement support on the Cornwall Bereavement Network's website 

Story posted on 21 April