The Loss Foundation is the only UK charity dedicated solely to providing bereavement support to spouses, family members, friends or colleagues following the loss of a loved one to cancer. Charity spokesperson Clair tells us how a donation from the Co-operative Bank’s Customer Donation Fund in 2017 will keep their unique services running in Oxford for many months: “Our charity has been providing free support groups for people who have lost their loved ones to cancer since early 2011.
Our groups provide regular spaces for people to share stories and experiences with others who have been through a similar kind of loss. Although our sessions are facilitated by psychologists, doctors and other professionals, the support groups are not formally therapeutic. They’re actually very informal, providing a welcoming environment for people to share their experiences, thoughts and emotions. Coping with grief can be an unpredictable experience, and therefore, we want to give people a space to talk about whatever they need to. Our events create an opportunity for peer support, where people can get advice from others in a similar position and hear how they cope.
At all our events we aim to let people know that their experiences, as painful as they are, are a normal part of the bereavement process. For example, it’s not unusual to have trouble concentrating or to lose your appetite when you’re grieving. Knowing that’s normal can be a relief. As well as our general support sessions, we also host a termly group specifically for students who are coping with bereavement. This recognises the extra pressures young people will feel while dealing with their loss.
We’re very lucky to have a great team, who are there to welcome and support attendees, provide refreshments and maintain our library of books on grief and bereavement that people are welcome to borrow. Receiving funding through the Co-operative Bank’s Customer Donation Fund makes a huge difference to the support we can provide in Oxford. In fact, the money we’ve received will fund all our local groups for the next year, allowing us to concentrate on providing a great service without constantly worrying about fundraising.”