Many Londoners have experienced sudden and traumatic loss during the pandemic. The scale of loss, and the disruption to people’s mourning make bereavement support a crucial part of London’s recovery from the pandemic.

Nothing can ease the loss for somebody grieving a loved one, but through collaborative work we are supporting a city-wide bereavement support programme, launched by the Mayor of London in May 2021.

Through partnership working, we want all those who have experienced loss to know that there is support available to them and they are not alone. As well as supporting to strengthen London’s bereavement sector.

Below we outline just some of the work taking place across London through the London Bereavement Support Programme.

Support After Sudden Bereavement resource

Published in November 2020 and distributed to all London hospitals, Thrive LDN’s Support After Sudden Bereavement resource was created with leading charity partners for those grieving the death of someone close or supporting someone going through sudden bereavement, including bereavement by suicide.

This resource aims to support Londoners who are grieving the sudden death of someone close to them, or if they are supporting someone going through sudden bereavement. In the resource we have tried to outline what might happen in the coming weeks and months; practically, around what processes and actions need to happen and emotionally, looking at the many different feelings you may experience.

Opening of London Blossom Garden and the launch of In loving memory of Londoners lost

In May 2021, the Mayor of London opened the London Blossom Garden at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as a living memorial to those Londoners who died during the pandemic. The occasion also marked the launch of the first phase of a new bereavement support programme to help those experiencing loss and grief in London. In loving memory of Londoners lost aimed to get London talking about grief and bereavement, remember those we have lost, and help direct Londoners to information, advice, and support to cope with their grief.

Cruse Bereavement Care webinars

It can be hard to find the right words to say to someone who is bereaved, or in a frontline or community role. In June, July, September and October, Thrive LDN partnered with Cruse Bereavement Care UK to deliver free, one-hour Bereavement and Loss Awareness webinars.

The webinars aimed to give participants a better understanding of the impact bereavement has on individuals, families, organisation and communities. The sessions were designed to boost knowledge and confidence of people who encounter bereaved people in the course of their jobs or voluntary roles.

Bereavement Services Challenge

Bereavement was identified as a key challenge within the Mayor’s Resilience Fund, which in total supported £1 million for innovative approaches to help London recover and emerge stronger from Covid-19.

Thrive LDN was the main partner the Bereavement Services Challenge of the Mayors Resilience Fund. The Mayor and Thrive LDN looked for innovators to develop ways of improving bereavement support for those communities hit especially hard by the pandemic. The challenge was to develop easily accessible and culturally competent services that allow for more personalised bereavement guidance and support for Londoners from minority ethnic groups bereaved by or during Covid-19.

Bereavement Services Challenge winner: Apart of Me – from grief to creativity and compassion

The innovator identified to continue full development of the Bereavement Services Challenge is Apart of Me, a charity dedicated to supporting bereaved children, young people and parents. Building on their award-winning app, Apart of Me is now looking to recruit 10 young people from minority ethnic groups who have experienced loss to use that experience and their creativity to help others like them. The young people will work with the charity to develop a toolkit, Loss in Translation. The aim is to equip young Londoners from minority ethnic backgrounds who have experienced loss with the tools and guidance to help themselves and others, turning their grief into compassionate action and reducing the risk of complicated grief.

Ubele – training for culturally competent support

The Ubele Initiative is a social enterprise led by people from the African diaspora to help build more sustainable communities across the UK. It is extending its work with BAMEstream, a bereavement service for black and other minority communities, to offer culturally competent training to those who support people from black and disadvantaged communities living with grief, bereavement and loss. They will develop three one-day training courses; one for those working in bereavement support, one for those who have lost a loved one or who want to support others, and one for those who work in care agencies, care homes, and end of life doulas.

Good Thinking – bereavement support for major faith groups

Good Thinking, London’s digital wellbeing service, is developing culturally competent bereavement support for the six major world religions. Each version will be a faith-appropriate guide to end-of-life experience, funerals, support in both the immediate and later stages of grief, and complicated grief. Their work will include a workbook for staff and volunteers in appropriate translated versions and accompanying webinars for each faith. The resources will be disseminated widely to faith groups, bereavement services, care homes, hospitals and primary care.