Lottery Grant Helps Butterwick to Increase Bereavement Support

Butterwick Hospice Care has been able to increase its support for bereaved people thanks to Government funding delivered through the National Lottery.

The hospice has experienced a sharp rise in demand for support for bereaved people during the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, the charity’s support services have been boosted by a £68,000 grant, provided by the Government’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund, and distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund.

The charity has used the money, so its bereavement support services can be adapted to provide support remotely.

“We have seen an increase in requests for bereavement support, partly due to people having reduced levels of contact with friends and family, as a direct impact of lockdown restrictions,” said Dianne McKenzie, Butterwick’s Head of Family Support.

“Bereaved people have been unable to connect with their usual supportive networks, and they’ve also had to manage some really difficult circumstances. We’re grateful to the Government for this grant which has made a huge difference in helping us adapt our services.”

The Covid-19 Crisis Response Fund grant has allowed the hospice to buy mobile and online devices, develop bereavement support packs for adults and young people, and to ensure counsellors are available to provide the support.

The Butterwick has three counselling rooms at each of its sites at Stockton and Bishop Auckland, and they are all are now equipped with a new laptop and phone, meaning telephone and online video counselling can take place.

As well as Dianne managing the service across the two sites, Butterwick has three counsellors at Stockton – Sharon Wilson, Karen Robinson, and Heather Bell. It also has two counsellors at Bishop Auckland – Carol Iveson and Paula Thompson.

They are supported by 30 dedicated volunteers, comprising qualified counsellors, as well as students from local colleges who are completing counselling degrees.

Dianne said she was “incredibly proud” of the way her team had responded during the pandemic, supporting clients while also having to cope with challenges within their personal lives.

“Their ability to place their own personal experiences of the pandemic to one side, while continuing to support others, shows what a truly amazing team we have,” said Dianne.

“We had initial worries about how a remote service would operate, compared to our usual way of working with people face-to- face, but we’ve really settled into it now.”

The team has recently resumed some socially distanced face-to-face working in schools with bereaved children, and hope to resume adult face-to-face sessions as soon as Government guidelines allow.

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