What is Stepping Stones?

Pilgrims has always provided a full range of bereavement support for the family and friends of those who have died in our care, however, we recognise this is not always the case for the family and friends of those people who die in other settings.

Recognising this need, Pilgrims has collaborated with South Kent Cruse Bereavement Care to develop Stepping Stones, an informal group that will provide welcoming support to many people who may not have had the opportunity to meet previously.

Click below to download our Stepping Stones resources

How people die remains in the memories of those who live on.

Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the hospice movement

Stepping Stones bereavement support volunteers can offer you the time and space to talk about your feelings and emotions, including any worries and concerns you may be experiencing as you grieve. One of our bereavement support volunteers will call you at an agreed time, allowing you to be comfortable and undisturbed for the duration of the call. The bereavement support volunteers are there to listen, help you to recognise and understand your feelings of grief and provide you with some coping strategies. They will also be able to signpost you to other services that can help you.

Stepping Stones bereavement service is offered by a team of both hospice staff and specially trained volunteers experienced in providing bereavement support.

All our volunteers have been trained through a local partnership between Pilgrims Hospices and South Kent CRUSE Bereavement Care.

Some people find it helpful to seek support early on in their grief, whereas others may manage well at first, but find they need extra support a few weeks or months after.

You can self-refer to Stepping Stones bereavement service at any time following bereavement.

Referrals to our telephone support service are now being accepted.

We are able to offer a 30-minute support call and one follow up call of 30 minutes should this be required. We are not able to provide ongoing telephone support but we can signpost you to other agencies that can help.

For more information about Stepping Stones, please contact us on 01233 504 127 - our coordinator will take your details and agree a convenient time for one of our bereavement support volunteers to contact you.

Alternatively, you can email steppingstones@pilgrimshospices.org.

Please note: Stepping Stones bereavement service is not a counselling service and we do not offer bereavement counselling. If you feel your grief is having a serious effect on your physical or mental wellbeing, you should always contact your GP for advice.

Stepping Stones face-to-face groups

Our Stepping Stones face-to-face groups are now back up and running.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and to ensure a safe environment for all, we have adapted the process for booking and attending groups. When you book, someone from Pilgrims will make contact with you to explain what happens on the day and answer any questions you may have.

Bereavement can often increase feelings of loneliness and isolation. Stepping Stones volunteers can offer you bereavement support. This informal social group provides a welcoming and confidential space for you to share with others in similar situations.

The group is run by a team of trained volunteers, through a local partnership between Pilgrims Hospices and South Kent CRUSE Bereavement Care.

The support groups meet every month and are free of charge. We meet in a comfortable lounge area at one of the local Pilgrims' Therapy Centres in Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet. New people can join the group at any point and gain support for up to six months. Information about further supportive services will be available.

Pilgrims Hospice Ashford, Hythe Road, Willesborough, Ashford TN24 0NE

First Friday of every month, 5 - 6:30pm.

Pilgrims Hospice Canterbury, 56 London Road, Canterbury CT2 8JA

First Saturday of every month, 3 - 4:30pm

Pilgrims Hospice Thanet, Ramsgate Road, Margate CT9 4AD

Last Friday of every month, 4 - 5:30pm

Free parking is available at each site. Go to the reception, where someone will greet you. We very much hope to welcome you at one of our Stepping Stones groups, please ring 01233 504 127 in advance so that we can expect you.

If this number is unattended, please leave an answerphone message.


Further information

If you would like some more information about the service, please contact us: