DAME ESTHER RANTZEN DBE -talks about why The Good Grief Trust is so important
The Good Grief Trust is driving the launch of the UK's 1st National Grief Awareness Week from 2-8 December 2019. This important new initiative aims to raise awareness of grief and loss on a national scale every Christmas.
Our vision is for this event to grow year on year, to acknowledge their grief and help them feel better understood.
* To help those grieving find the support they need from DAY ONE.
* To help those supporting their grieving friends and family to know what to say and do
* To help the smaller charities and support organisations to raise their profile and reach those in need.
New National Grief Awareness Week website launches 2nd December 2019.
* We have created a portfolio of new campaign posters to highlight the key messages to help the bereaved
* We held a Parliamentary Launch event at Westminster bringing over 150 charities, support services, MPs', Peers, health professionals, coroners, police and individuals affected by grief to pledge their support for the campaign.
Please help us with a donation to support our work in creating, producing and managing this new awareness week, and website.
Thank you for your continued support.
Hi, I'm Linda, founder of The Good Grief Trust.
We launched in 2014 and just over 2 years since we were established as a Registered Charity, our Facebook page now has a reach of one million with engagements of over 180,000 per month.
The Good Grief Trust aims to raise awareness of issues around bereavement and try to change the way we deal with this taboo subject in the UK, ensure acknowledgement of the potentially severe effects of grief and encourage us all to talk it about it more openly.
We are now the UK's leading Bereavement Charity bringing over 600 bereavement services under the one umbrella. Our vision is to try and help repair the holes in the current bereavement net.
Our Story - why I launched The Good Grief Trust
I lost my partner Graham to a rare cancer, a soft tissue sarcoma, on September 2nd 2014. The past 2 years have been extremely difficult, especially the early days of trying to find help for the totally debilitating feelings I had after Graham died. We were together for 8 years, he was my best friend, the man who made me laugh more than anyone and I miss him like crazy every day. Grief has changed my whole world, the pain has been unbearable at times and I want to ensure that no-one else has to suffer unnecessarily because they cannot access the support they need, at a time they need it most.
With over HALF A MILLION DEATHS in the UK every year, this is a National issue that needs addressing. Thankfully not everyone will be affected by cancer, heart disease or other life limiting conditions, but at sometime in our lives ALL of us will be affected by grief and none of us know how we will react to the death of someone close until it happens. Quote - Prince William; "Losing someone close is the most painful experience anyone can go through"
Sobering statistic; there are more suicides through grief following the death of a loved one than through depression.
Through my extensive research, I have come to realise that there are huge gaps in our bereavement support in the UK and is why I am so passionate about trying to make significant improvements in the way grief is managed in Britain. Many of the major bereavement charities, including Cruse & Child Bereavement UK also agree with this conclusion and are keen to support us.
Quote: Julia Samuel; "it isn't the circumstances of the death that will predict a positive or negative outcome,
it is the support they get at the time and after the death.
This is the key component to anybody finding a way to rebuild their life."
The situation at present is that often the content and quality of the information provided to relatives by hospitals, hospices, GP's, Police, Funeral Directors, Registrars, Care Homes & Clergy is sporadic and generally depends on who is dealing with the death and where in the UK you live. There are outstanding charities and organisations offering excellent support for those who have lost someone close all around the UK, but they are just not being easily found. Equally many organisations are not providing sufficient information, guidance and advice, with some offering no support at all, so many thousands of people are falling through the cracks. Therefore we aim to bring all services together under our one umbrella for simple, quick access to support.
Incredibly there is not one Website in the UK that provides information about every bereavement service available, whether you have lost a partner, child, parent, grandparent, sibling or friend. We aim to develop the UK's 1st fully comprehensive online support network - THE GOOD GRIEF GUIDE.COM run by the bereaved, for the bereaved, to bring bereavement into the 21st Century, to talk about it in a more honest, straightforward way, deal with it as positively as possible and help to make it a little more bearable for those at the early stages and inspire those further along their own grief 'journey'.............
This project is on a National scale and we therefore need significant funding to set up this Charity and achieve our objectives;
1) Develop a new fully comprehensive Support Website for the UK -The Good Grief Guide.com
2) Develop a strategy (i.e. new Bereavement 'Pack') to find every person in the UK who is bereaved and signpost them to help and support as quickly as possible.
3) Work with Health professionals to bring together best practice across the country and share successful projects so that both the health service and the public can benefit from a fresh new approach to bereavement services.
4) Bring all bereavement charities, services and organisations under the one umbrella, for simple, easy access, providing practical help, advice and support in the early days, to offering hope for the future with a wealth of inspiring ideas, services and ongoing support.
Your funds will go towards the setting up of this new Umbrella Charity. To include the nationwide research & development of a new Bereavement Support Website. The design, printing and distribution of hard copy information which we aim to provide to all front line organisations across the UK, to be given to the bereaved via hospitals, hospices, the Police, Funeral Directors, Registrars, Care Homes, Clergy.
Thank you so much for your donation, we are very grateful for your help with this ambitious project. Please read on to learn more about my personal story and our plans in more detail.......................
I thought you may like to hear a little more about my story. Graham and I first met when I was playing Susi, one of the original cast of Grange Hill for the BBC, back in the late 70's and he was one of our new charismatic directors on the programme. The whole cast loved him! I am proud to say that Graham (Theakston) was a hugely successful TV & Film Director, with a long list of credits, winning the BAFTA for the Politcian's Wife with Juliet Stevenson, directing the pilot for New Tricks, Cadfael with Sir Derek Jacobi, Boon, Dempsey & Makepeace, A Touch of Frost, Sherlock Holmes, the acclaimed Seeing Red with Sarah Lancashire, The Lazarus Child with Andy Garcia, the list goes on.
We didn't see each other again until 30 years later, when I was out locally one day and heard someone call my name. It was Graham.....I couldn't believe it! Strangely he had been living 10 mins away for over 20 years but we'd never met. By that time, we were both out of long term relationships and there was just something very special between us right from that first day. We were holding hands pretty much from then on and that was that, we were firmly hooked for the next 8 amazing years we had together. I know now that the love we had for each other was stronger than either of us ever knew.
The early days after he died were a fog, a mixture of totally debilitating feelings of unbelievable deep, deep sadness and very real thoughts that I might actually be going a little mad! I would sit and stare at the wall, not being able to physically stand up. I'd go on long lonely walks talking out loud to Graham, trying to work out where on earth he had gone! How could someone who was sleeping next to me, laughing with me, thinking with that brilliant brain of his and who was such an incredibly strong spirit could now be in a container on someone's shelf?! Nothing made any sense anymore. I began to observe life, watching people go about their daily routine, but being unable to participate, which was the strangest feeling and totally disconcerting, it really affected my day to day life. I couldn't deal with the mundane, so the stress caused by ignoring bills, phone calls and 'real life' just compounded my isolation. I was totally detached from everyone and everything, others seemed oblivious to how catastrophic this all was to me! No-one seemed to 'get it'. My GP had limited resources available, they seemed as lost as I did and one unbelievably could only suggest 'posh tissues' (as I was crying so much). Surely this lack of help and understanding was just not acceptable. There must be some organisation who could help me but I didn't have a clue how to find it! I also didn't have the energy to try to look. I couldn't focus on anything. I needed to talk to someone who understood how I felt. The hospitals where Graham was treated didn't have any support groups either, in fact one asked me if I wanted to start one! I was incensed by the lack of knowledge, acknowledgement and understanding of grief, so I set about doing something about it.
Purely by luck one day surfing the net, I found my lifefline! A national charity (Widowedandyoung.org.uk), which through peer support has helped me to find new friendships and people who just 'got it'. It's been truly amazing. But why didn't anyone know about this charity? Why was I left alone to grapple around in the dark? It was just not good enough! If this was happening to me, it must be happening to thousands of people up and down the country.
Our vision at The Good Grief Trust is to ensure that no-one in the future is allowed to slip through the current holes in our bereavement net and suffer unnecessarily. I've discussed this project with all key charities, such as Cruse, Child Bereavement UK, Dying Matters, Widowed and Young, The Loss Foundation, as well as MP's, Peers and hundreds of bereaved people and I've been encouraged to hear that they all agree the need to close the gaps. I am currently working with the National Council for Palliative Care as part of their 'Building on the Best' Programme' visiting 10 selected Hospital Trusts around England to find the best bereavement provision, which we aim to collate, so that every front line organisation will be equipped to provide targeted information, signposting them to our new website; THE GOOD GRIEF GUIDE.COM for more fully comprehensive support. We are currently developing ideas for the way we present this information to the bereaved; i.e. a 'Pack'/leaflet/booklet etc which will be depend on the results of our research.
Quote: Caron Kemp Journalist written after the death of her mother; "The fragility of life also comes into sharp focus. Not only have I found myself playing her final few days over and again in my mind, but also I’ve started questioning when and how I might die. My family. The order. Death used to be the biggest taboo, now it permeates most of my thoughts"
We also plan to help Health Professionals link up across the country through the website, to share their expertise, knowledge and passion with innovative, inspiring projects and sharing best practice under the one umbrella.
Five months after our launch we now have a reach of over half a million on our Facebook page with one post alone being shared over 5,600 times. Clearly this is an issue that resonates with many people in the UK.
Thank you so much for reading my story. I hope you will want to support us in our work to improve bereavement support in the UK and help us to reach everyone who is grieving, whoever they have lost and where ever they are in Britain. This is a huge project, but one we know is so worthwhile and we will try to ensure our virtual hand of friendship reaches those who need it most.
We very much appreciate your donation and we'll keep you posted with our progress.
A final note;
We are a small team at The Good Grief Trust with big ambitions and we are driven to try to help raise awareness of the issues around bereavement and improve care for those grieving in the UK. We are committed to trying to reach our goals, however, I would just like to say if for any reason The Good Grief Trust is unable to continue as a Charity, funds will be donated to other bereavement charities in the UK to help with their work.