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Bereavement Support

One of the certainties in life is that we will all experience the loss of those close to us at some point. However, having this knowledge still does not prepare us for the complexity of the feelings we will experience when the time comes. The depth and breadth of the emotions felt will be different for everyone, no one can predict the intensity

Here at Carers Support West Sussex (CSWS), we completely understand that everyone will experience their own unique journey in coping with loss. At the same time, we believe that connecting with others in a similar situation will provide you with a sense of support and a means of developing your own coping strategy.

Carers Support offer two ways to access bereavement support:

1) Bereavement Workshops

2) Our Monthly Former Carers Group

CSWS are running a series of early bereavement workshops, for carers who have been bereaved within the last six months.

It is our hope that offering this opportunity to attend these 2-part workshops, will allow bereaved carers to connect with others in a similar situation and gain some tools to support them through their grief.

Workshop Content & Information:

Each workshop offers a structured programme with the opportunity for group discussions and breakout rooms for specific themed discussions and/or individual support.

The first workshop discusses and explores:

  • The Five Stages of Grief: (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance)
  • What is Grief?
  • The Physical Impact of Grief
  • Cycle of Grief

The second workshop, starts with an opportunity for the attendees to reflect and share with each other, following on from the initial workshop, which then leads into new conversations discussing and focusing on:

  • The Impact of Anniversaries
  • Creating A “Life After Caring” Tool Kit
  • Moving Forward
  • Planning for the Future

Each attendee will be encouraged and supported to develop their own emotional toolkit to help them manage their wellbeing throughout their bereavement journey.

Anyone wanting to attend these workshops will have a short `suitability assessment` via the telephone, prior to the workshop. This is to ensure that the workshop is appropriate for them with regards to their emotional resilience at the time.

Each 2 hour workshop will be held online, via Zoom. Support and guidance with regards to using Zoom, can be arranged through our `Connecting Carers` service.

The dates for the next workshop cohorts are:

1) Tues 15 Feb and Tues 1 March 2022 2-4pm

2) Weds 17 and 30 March 2022 7-9pm

Who are these workshops for?

These workshops are free to any carer who has been bereaved within the past six months. If you are not already registered with Carers Support, an interim quick-registration will be completed as part of the workshop booking process, with the option of completing the full registration process, enabling you to access information & support, at the end of the second workshop, if appropriate.

In the meantime if you wish register now: See information here on how to register with Carers Support West Sussex.

Benefits of attending Bereavement Workshops

If you register for our Bereavement Workshops, as a bereaved carer, these workshops will provide you with an opportunity, in a confidential space to:

  • Feel supported by an experienced and insightful workshop host and Support workers
  • Listen to and share with others – thoughts, feelings & experiences of living with your grief
  • Talk openly and honestly without fear of judgment or disapproval
  • Be with others with a common bond
  • Feel supported in exploring possibilities and opportunities for the future.
  • Creating coping strategies to support you with your loss.
  • To have a greater awareness of what support & resources are available and how to access these, moving forward.
  • Feeling supported and empowered to make choices that are right for you in order to move forward

How do I register?

Taking the first step can sometimes be the hardest. With this understanding, Carers Support West Sussex have made the enrolment to access these workshops quick and easy.

You can either call 0300 028 8888 or email

Please note

  • There is only funding to support a limited number of carers who have been bereaved within the past six months
  • Carers Support West Sussex will allocate places on a first come basis, as well as taking into consideration suitability for accessing support of this nature
  • Once the workshop cohort capacity has been reached, the carers will be placed on a waiting list in case any spaces become free.

Bereavement Workshop Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

You may have some questions about the workshops and what you can expect. Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions (or FAQs). These FAQs apply only to the Bereavement Workshops and no other workshop/event offered by Carers Support. Please click on the plus sign (+) to view answers for each question.

1. How do I know if these workshops are right for me?

The bereavement workshops may not be suitable for anyone recently bereaved. Therefore, a suitability assessment will be undertaken initially to identify if this support environment is appropriate for you at this time. If it is determined that you would benefit from a different form of emotional support, then a support worker will signpost other options for you to consider.

2. How many workshops do I have to attend?

The offer is for two-part bereavement workshop, each lasting two hours with a two-week break between each one This is in addition to the initial 01-=15min suitability assessment call, prior to a place being allocated.

3. How will I access the workshops?

The workshops will take place via Zoom. You will need a device to access the Zoom platform ie: Computer, Laptop, iPad. If you have any connectivity issues or would like some guidance on how to use and access Zoom, we are able to offer you some support via our Digital Champions Team.

4. Are the workshops free?

5. What about confidentiality?

All counsellors, Carers Support staff & volunteers are bound by a legal duty of confidentiality to protect any personal information they encounter and that you may share. However, if there is a concern for someone’s safety, the Workshop Facilitators (Hermione & Sharon)) will refer any safeguarding concerns to Carers Support West Sussex or the Police if there is an immediate risk of harm or danger disclosed

6. How will I know if attending these workshops has helped me?

You are the person best placed to know if and how these workshops will help you during your bereavement. To help you measure the improvements to your wellbeing and emotional resilience, there will be a post workshop follow-up call and questionnaire to complete. This will provide you with tangible evidence of the positive impact made by the workshop sessions

7. Who will be hosting the Bereavement Workshops?

Workshop Writer & Assessor:

Michelle Butler

I am a BACP & UKCP accredited Counsellor and clinical supervisor, practicing for the past 13yrs. I started my counselling career as a volunteer counsellor for Carers Support in 2005 and I have been thrilled to watch the service grow and become so well respected.

I am also involved with the supervision groups for the counsellors at St. Barnabas Hospice, Worthing. I have worked with St Barnabas for 7 years and I have been involved in their trainings and I believe I have a good understanding of working with grief.

In 2020 I was asked by Carers Support to design and facilitate a series of bereavement workshops. My role also includes the pre-workshop call to each carer to discuss the workshop content, ensuring that the workshops are the right mode of support for you, at this moment in time.

Workshop Team:

Hermione Davidson

After an intense three-year period of life caring for a family member who died of cancer, I left my career in teaching and came to work for Carers Support. Initially I started in the Hospital Team but, given my personal experience, I was well placed to join a pilot project funded by Macmillan Cancer Support which started in June 2018 and ended in March 2021. During this period I was able to obtain a ‘Certificate in Counselling Skills’ and complete a variety of training courses provided by Macmillan on topics as varied as Working with Children Pre-bereavement to Improving end of care for and supporting LGBT+ people with cancer.

I have recently completed a Foundation Course training to be an End of Life Doula (also known as Death Doula supporting those with a terminal diagnosis and those they love with practical, emotional & spiritual needs). I am keen to work alongside carers who find themselves facing an end of life scenario and then bridge the gap beyond their caring role and into the future, which is my motivation to be involved in these workshops.

Sharon Pritchard

Like Hermione, I was employed as a Macmillan Carer Wellbeing Worker joining Carers Support West Sussex in October 2018 and worked closely with Hermione to develop the pilot project. I am now continuing that work as part of the Community Team and in addition as part of my role, I am now supporting carers who are looking after someone who is at the End of their Life.

I am PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) trained, and have recently completed training in the Awareness of End of Life Care at St Wilfrid’s Hospice and an Introduction to a Person-Centred Approach to Death and Dying run by Living Well, Dying Well. Like my colleague Hermione, I have also completed the Death Doula Foundation Course.

Having been involved since the start of the Bereavement Workshops. The most valuable thing I have learnt was that everyone has a different experience of death and bereavement. Sharing these experiences with peers is invaluable and gives a deeper understanding and respect for the difficult situations’ carers find themselves having to deal with.

Craig Lawrence

I retired in 2017 from working in Social Services in the United States where I helped people with disabilities start small businesses. That same year I came to the UK with my wife to care for members of her family who had serious illnesses and injuries. This experience led to my realisation of how important it is to support carers. In 2019 I joined the volunteer team at Carers Support West Sussex, initially supporting and working with the Macmillan Cancer Service and now with the Community Team. My work has specifically focused on providing ongoing telephone support for carers with needs that are particularly complex and demanding. I have also provided peer support in the previous CSWS Bereavement Workshops and assisted with the development of this current offering.

If you have any further questions, please contact Carers Support West Sussex on 0300 028 8888 or email

Our online group for carers who have experienced bereavement and would benefit from meeting with others going through a similar experience, now runs monthly, via Zoom.

This is a group specifically for those carers who have experienced bereavement, either having lost someone recently or a while ago. If you are feeling the loss and would like to join with others who are sharing a similar experience this is an opportunity to talk through grieving and to acknowledge that there is no expectation for what ‘should’ be happening, or indeed when it occurs during bereavement. Bereavement is different for each and every one of us, for some the caring role may have ended or changed into new roles, however it is affecting you, joining this group can give you the opportunity to talk with others who may have or are experiencing similar thoughts and feelings.

This group takes place on the 3rd Thursday every month via Zoom* 10.30am – 12pm.

Facilitated by members of our Emotional Wellbeing Team we hope that colleagues from CRUSE will also be joining us.

Click here to find out more about the group and to book your place.

*If you would like some support and guidance using Zoom, please call/email our Carer Response Line to enquire about speaking to one of our Digital Champions. T: 0300-028-8888 / You can also find some useful technology guides here.

National Bereavement Services & Resources

Cruse Bereavement Care

Cruse Bereavement Care offers support, advice and information to children, young people and adults when someone dies. During the current pandemic our trained volunteers are continuing to offer support over the telephone and internet.

Macmillan Cancer Support - Coping with bereavement

This booklet is about coping when someone close to you has died. It is for the relatives and friends of anyone who has died from cancer. The booklet looks at some of the emotions you may have and the support that can help. It also gives you some practical information about what to do and what to expect when someone dies.

The Silver Line - helpline for older people

The Silver Line Helpline is the only national, free and confidential helpline for older people open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. We offer information, advice and friendship through our helpline and services. There is no question too big, no problem too small and no need to be alone.

Tide - Living grief and bereavement

A booklet for carers of people with dementia.

DrugFam - Bereavement

Providing a lifeline of safe and caring support to families, friends and partners affected by someone else`s drug, alcohol, or gambling problems.

Winston's Wish

Supporting children and young people after the death of a parent or sibling.

Grief Encounters

Support for bereaved children, young people and families.

Sussex Bereavement Helpline

Provides information and guidance, and is run by a team of experienced support workers, who can talk to you about the tasks that need to be completed after a death – such as registration of the death, arranging a funeral or informing other people and organisations. The Helpline can also give you information about sources of help and support for you and your family and friends as you grieve. Call 0300 111 2141 Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm.

Sussex Health and Care Partnership

Bereavement guide to support you during Covid-19

The Loss Foundation

Providing free bereavement support for loss to Cancer or Covid-19

National Autistic Society

Bereavement: how it can affect autistic people and what we can do to help

The Good Grief Trust

Sue Ryder Online Bereavement Support

Independent Age Coping with Bereavement resource

Our Services

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