St Christopher’s offer a range of services to help the bereaved but less well-known are bereavement groups which offer individuals a chance to reflect with people going through a similar stage of grief. Some of these are run by St Christopher’s but we are pleased to see that over time some have begun to run themselves.
The New Horizons group – which started in 2015 – is a good example. It provides a positive platform for friendship, opportunities to socialise and extend the horizons of those who have lost loved ones. The original members had already attended a Learning from Loss group facilitated by St Christopher’s but as that concluded, they felt the need to meet again.
“There were about 12 people at the start and membership is now around 25-30,” said Shah Isfahan, who started the group, “We’re very much a social group, we don’t want to slip back into the negative but try to be supportive and think positively.” With a full roster of events there is a lot to be positive about. New Horizons meets up on the first Friday of the month but generally “we like to have outings” says Shah “we go out for meals, canal and river boat trips, line dancing, Sunday lunch, museums, musicals and we had a long weekend away at Warner Leisure on the Isle of Wight. We change the location in London all the time so it isn’t just in central London, but Croydon, West Wickham, Addington and other local places. Members come up with ideas all the time.”
“Over the years we’ve found that many people join groups” said Paul Parsons, St Christopher’s Adult Bereavement Service Co-ordinator, “and after they are finished they continue to meet up informally and independently, New Horizons is a good example of that and they welcome new members all the time.”
New Horizons is for people who have been counselled or attended bereavement groups at St Christopher’s and who have gone beyond a grief that is raw or complex. People are referred to the group from the Bereavement Team at St Christopher’s – if you know of anyone that might benefit from the service please get in contact with Paul Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org.