A project training people in north Cumbria to support those going through bereavement gets underway during Dying Matters Week (2-6 May).

The ‘Let’s Talk Bereavement Project’ is funded by NHS Charities Together. Money was raised by Captain Sir Tom Moore during lockdown for the charity.

The project will help people in north Cumbria access bereavement support. It will also offering training to people, groups and organisations to increase confidence in how we talk about death, and support the development of compassionate communities.

Karen Dutton is the project lead from Cumbria Learning and Improvement Collaborative (CLIC).  “It can be very difficult to know what to say or do when someone you know has lost someone close. We often want to offer support. However, it can be hard to know what to say for fear of saying the wrong thing. Then we find ourselves saying nothing, saying something careless without meaning to, or even avoiding the person.

“There is a lot of support on offer and we have pulled all of that information together to make it easier for people to find. We are offering free training for staff and volunteers working in organisations and community groups in North Cumbria. The first wave of training aims to increase understanding of grief and provide tools/resources to enable people to have confidence to talk about death and effectively support the bereaved. Later in the year we will also be offering half day specialised skills training.”

Dying Matters week runs from May 2nd to the 6th and encourages people to have open conversations with their family and friends about what they want at the end and how they feel about death.

People who have lost a loved one may need lots of support even if it doesn’t look that way. It has been especially difficult for people who have lost loved ones during covid – they may have not been there at the end or had smaller funerals without many friends and family present. There is no doubt that this has had an impact for many.