Pilgrims Stepping Stones Bereavement Support services started in 2019 to offer support to bereaved adults in east Kent.
The aim of these services are to help people following the death of a loved one, understand the feelings they have are normal and that being able to share their stories with others in a similar situation can be therapeutic. It also provides an opportunity to gain awareness of other services that might prove helpful, all in welcoming environments. New friendships are often created in such groups and a sense of belonging can overcome natural feelings of isolation.
Monthly Bereavement Support Groupsheld at each of our three Hospice sites:
Ashford – The first Friday of every month 5:00pm – 6:30pm
Canterbury – The first Saturday of every month 3:00pm – 4:30pm
Thanet – The last Friday of every month 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Weekly Bereavement Support Groups Walking Groupsin tranquil settings take place:
Ashford – Tuesday morning 10:30am – 12:00pm
Canterbury – Tuesday afternoons 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Thanet – Thursday mornings 10:30am – 12:00pm
These important services are facilitated by trained volunteers and supported by the team at Pilgrims.
Stepping Stones volunteers come to us from a variety of backgrounds to use their existing skills and develop new ones, following the training we provide.
If you would like to find out more about these volunteer roles, and how you could become involved in these worthwhile services, please get in touch with our Bereavement Services Coordinator via email Steppingstones@pilgrimshospices.org
Enquiries and expressions of interested by 31st August 2023
Click here for details on Stepping Stones volunteer roles along with other volunteer roles for Pilgrims Hospices.
We very much look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
Grief is a very natural, normal and necessary reaction to a bereavement Grief is not a single event. It is a process which takes time to work through, during which we find out how to adapt to our loss. There is no right way or wrong way to grieve. Our feelings of grief are as personal and individual as any other feelings.
6th October 2020
Facing Loss Support Group where all arrive as strangers but leave as friends
Finding yourself bewildered and suffering waves of emotion and grief, after losing someone important in your life, is an enormous challenge for any one person.
Pilgrims Hospices team of counsellors know only too well how overwhelming such dark times can be. The team provide the opportunity for family and friends of hospice patients to share experiences with other people bereaved at a similar time; helping them to understand the impact of grief, and developing strategies to help cope in such difficult times.
Earlier in the year, Pilgrims counsellors Louise Evans and Marion O’Donnell worked closely with members of their ‘Facing Loss’ support group, to provide a safe space to talk and share thoughts and experiences with others who are also coming to terms with loosing someone special.
Although we are unable to meet as face to face groups at the moment, we are #Still Here Still Caring and providing the ‘Facing Loss’ bereavement support as a virtual group, via Zoom calls, until it is safer for us to be with our group users again
Marion – Counsellor
The group has remained in touch by creating a What’s App group and recently met up for a teddy bear’s picnic in St. Augustine’s Priory, Bilsington where social distancing is carried out. Sadly due to weather they had to go inside but it certainly never stopped them enjoying each other’s company.
Marion told us: “It was clear to see the group truly made a wonderful connection and even after the sessions were finished, they continue to support each other with their What’s App group along with meeting up for picnics, lunches and more recently a Birthday celebration. Hopefully when social distancing is a little more relaxed, their coffee stops in a garden centre will resume.”
Sara Barton-Dodson, a support group user said: “My husband Steve passed away in August 2019 whilst in Pilgrims Hospices care at Ashford. He had seen Marion in one to one therapy sessions, therefore I had already met her and knew how counselling had been of benefit to Steve during his treatment for terminal cancer.
“Marion invited me to join the ‘Facing Loss’ group; I knew it would be a good support network for me when coping with the loss of my husband.
“Steve was just 59 years old when he passed away, he had been fighting his cancer for three years. I made a promise to him that I would always stay safe and the ‘Facing Loss’ support group has helped me to do just that.
The group really helped to make a positive difference for me, within our small group, we’ve made firm connections and friendships; I’ve most definitely found many benefits in sharing experiences
“The groups are held at the hospices in Canterbury, Ashford and Thanet. I found them a welcome opportunity to share thoughts and conversations with people who had also lost loved ones. The benefits of talking, sharing your feelings and experiences was like lifting a weight from my shoulders.
“After Steve passed away, people would often say how well I looked; all I really wanted to do was dissolve in to tears, I felt dreadful, it was a completely devastating time. Coming to the group sessions has helped me to become much stronger; cry when I need to and, laugh out loud too!
“Marion and Louise were quite wonderful, with a wealth of knowledge and understanding, they helped all of us to develop coping techniques to guide us through difficult times.
“As the friendships in the group developed we shared photographs of our loved ones, which allowed everyone to know a little more about those loved ones lost.
“The group really helped to make a positive difference for me, within our small group, we’ve made firm connections and friendships; I’ve most definitely found many benefits in sharing experiences.”
Marion added: “Although we are unable to meet as face to face groups at the moment, we are #Still Here Still Caring and providing the ‘Facing Loss’ bereavement support as a virtual group, via Zoom calls, until it is safer for us to be with our group users again.”
Care is provided from three hospice sites in Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet as well as in patients’ own homes. To offer these services to patients and their families the charity must raise £11 million each year from the generous local community.