The Good Grief Trust - Start up
Hi, I'm Linda, founder of our new Charity, please watch this video. Thankyou.
Our Facebook page now has a reach of over half a million, with one post alone being shared over 5,600 times.
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 aim to be the UK's 1st National Charity to bring all bereavement services under the one umbrella and aim to try to repair the holes in the current bereavement net.
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: Ann Chalmers CEO Child Bereavement UK - "how things are managed around a death can make a huge difference. With the right support, at the right time, they can rebuild their lives"
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.
First of all thank you for all your support - we are extremely grateful to everyone who has donated so far. These funds are vital in setting up a new charity and meeting the costs of our events to raise our profile and awareness of our work and all the expenses involved in the legal set up, branding, design and printing costs of literature, etc.
Once we received our Registered Charity Number, we will be able to benefit from Gift Aid, which will help us, but in the meantime we are working very hard to keep costs to a minimum.
I am really pleased to say that we are forging ahead with our plans, the website is being built as we speak and we are collecting data about as many bereavement services around the UK as possible to upload onto our new network of support across the country.
If you know of any excellent charities, organisations or services to help those newly bereaved or those who are further along their 'journey' we would love to hear about them. So please get in touch.
I am now working with a wide range of professionals from all sectors, to drive our initiative forward and make significant improvements in our bereavement provision.
I am teaming up with Tracey Bleakley, CEO of Hospice UK, Claire Henry, Chair of NCPC and Fiona Murphy MBE, to discuss the best way to move forward, which is brilliant as all these women are experts in their field and have many years of experience helping those suffering grief.
We are still working with Carolyn Harris MP who is helping to bring this project to the attention of the Committees who deal with these issues in Westminster, so we will keep you posted when we have more news.
I recently spoke at St Raphael's Hospice in Sutton, where Graham, my partner was under their care. He never went into the hospice, as he was cared for at home, but it was a poignant day for me, meeting the staff and talking at the event about our work.
Once again, very few people (health professionals) in the room knew about Widowed and Young, or realised the extent to the lack of support available around the UK. It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm for bringing everyone together under the one umbrella. They all agreed that if this could be done, it would save the NHS time, resources and funds by reaching those who need help and support as soon as possible.
I will send you photos of our recent event which was a huge success and give you detail of our next one coming up, in case you can come along! March 11th 1pm - 4pm - Cannizaro House, Wimbledon Common. SW19. Would love to see you there! (flyer attached)
This week is special for me, personally as it is my partner Graham's birthday week. He was born on a leap year, so he would have been unlucky this year without an actual day to celebrate, but he loved to celebrate any special occasion, so I will be posting a series of photos this week, to mark his birthday and to celebrate his 30 years in the business, as a prolific, successful TV Director, so I hope you enjoy reading more about our story.
I will update you all more regularly from now on, but for now I just want to say a heartfelt thankyou from me and all our team at GGT.
I am incredibly proud to announce just a few of the things our charity has achieved since our launch;
* We have reached almost 200,000 on our Facebook pages,which is amazing!
* We have almost 2000 followers who have found us.
* We regularly reach over 20,000 people per week on social media, with one of our posts so far being liked and shared 1,600 times.
* We have raised almost £7,000 to date by hundreds of kind supporters on our fundraising page; www.gofundme.com/thegoodgrieftrust
* We have almost 200 supporters on www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/thegoodgrieftrust/
* We are in the process of applying for our Registered Charity status.
* I am working with the National Council for Palliative Care on their 'Building on the Best Programme' visiting 10 hospitals Trusts across the UK, learning and sharing information on the provision for grief support across the UK.
* We have exhibited at our 1st London hospital event to raise awareness of our work to health professionals and the public
* I have been asked to speak at several events in London in hospices and for NHS England, reaching all 5 South London Boroughs.
* We have the support of a dedicated team of Trustees, Patrons & our wonderful GGT Steering Group of volunteers.
* We will be working with the NCPC to raise awareness and implement improvements in bereavement support in the UK.
* Our radio interviews inc. BBC Radio Live 5, BBC Radio Wales, LBC, Premier Radio, Radio London.
* SKY TV interview on raising awareness of the struggles of those coping with the death of a partner.
* We are currently building our new support website with the help of industry professionals and researching the best strategy to develop a brand way of reaching every person in the UK who is bereaved via every frontline organisation.
* We are designing a brand new format for a 'Bereavement Pack' to be distributed nationwide via every frontline organisation.
* We are delighted to be working directly with the Government and Parliament this year, to implement our plans and raise awareness of the current holes.
Please help us to continue our work, by sharing our posts, spreading the news of our work to anyone who may need bereavement advice and if you or anyone you know can help us with any financial support, we would be extremely grateful. We are a very small set up, all working as volunteers squeezing the work in between our usual jobs and family commitments, so it's quite tough without a paid member of staff and relying solely on the goodwill of others.
If anyone would like to volunteer to help us this year, YES PLEASE!!!
So here's to the start of a busy, incredibly exciting, hugely challenging, but extremely worthwhile project for The Good Grief Trust in 2017.
Thank you to you all for joining us on our quest to conquer the difficult issues around supporting those who are grieving and hopefully try to get rid of the taboos that prevent us from talking to each other
........I know it's cheesy, but we really can't do this alone:.......
"Teamwork really does make the Dream work!!"
Let's do it!!! Linda x
We will be at St. Christopher's Hospice this Friday where I've been invited to introduce the work of The Good Grief Trust and explain our vision to bring all bereavement charities and organisations together under the one umbrella and improve the way we reach the newly bereaved via all frontline organisations.
We are incredibly proud that our charity, although still very small, is gaining momentum and our vision is being recognised by health professionals and the public alike.
Only 3 months after our launch we are making great progress with the development of our website and we are now making plans to pilot a new format of bereavement literature in a selection of Hospital Trusts in the new year.
Thank you once again for all your support, we are grateful for every penny you donate. We're are a completely voluntary run organisation, with everyone involved giving their time free of charge, so the funds we receive from your donations are being spent in the setting up of a brand new charity from scratch, with all that involves.
These banners are just one cost on a very long list, but with your ongoing support and with funding from other sources, we will be able to achieve our ambitious goals, so thank you once again for being with us on this exciting journey.
We'll grow into a mighty oak together!
I was invited to be interviewed on a new programme which aired on SKY this weekend, which tackled the issues around 'Coping after the death of a Partner'. It's only a small set up, but the programme is shown on My Channel on SKY every week and they have their Youtube Channel, so we thought it would be a good opportunity to try to reach others who had been through a similar experience and who may need advice and support.
The interview was a relaxed intelligent discussion focusing on my story and why I set up The Good Grief Trust and also featured an interview with Georgia Elms, the Chair of WAY (Widowed and Young), so if you'd like to take a look - here's the link.
I hope you think the programme is interesting - we hope that it reached out to people who may have lost a partner and who could benefit from charities such as WAY.
what a great idea - my husband is dying and I know something like this is needed - and it needs to start even before the death has occurred - we need to be able to talk about dying and how we are feeling - this is really big and so important
I'm sorry to hear of your loss. I too, lost my husband, age 49, to cancer. Leaving myself and our children, youngest was 5, penniless. We live in the US. There are many support groups here, but I didn't have the "energy" to go to any. My question is, if there are no support groups in the UK, why not Google some on the internet? There are MANY! These online groups helped me tremendously! Not everyone wants to leave their home and go to a group, I didn't, and couldn't because of my children. There IS online help! For EVERYONE! What exactly will this money do? You can't start groups at hospitals and such there for free? I have no idea as I don't live there of course. I hope you have learned to "live with", in lieu of a better phrase, your grief. It's hard, especially when you are left penniless, like we were. I wish you love and peace. I wish I had the $$ to help, but I hope my suggestion will help at least 1 person. God Bless