Case study: Creating a support group

  • Jack Walsh, Sector Manager, Co-operative Funeralcare Plymouth / South West
  • Time commitment: four hours a week

Bereavement Support Service in Plymouth – having a coffee and chatThe Bereavement Support Service has become an integral part of the local community, thanks to Jack Walsh and his team. Launched ten years ago, it was born out of an idea to offer an informal meeting place where the bereaved in the area could come together for a coffee and a chat, support one another and understand that they were not alone. 

Started in Plymouth, the service’s success soon led to similar events in Paignton, Torquay, Plymstock, Saltash, Tavistock and South Molton, with Southampton and Portishead recently added to the list.

Jack said:

“Regular coffee mornings are our bread and butter but we also arrange guest speakers and exchange advice. Often everyday tasks like cooking and changing plugs can suddenly become difficult and distressing when you have to tackle them alone. The groups are going from strength to strength and are greatly appreciated by those who come along.”

Jack’s top tips

  • Spread the word to your local community regularly – leave leaflets in GP surgeries, churches, local charities, Citizens Advice Bureau, libraries, Registrars’ office
  • Make the event different every time – invite guest speakers who can give advice
  • Food and drink bring people together – make sure you provide some!