Bereavement charity in Sheffield issues 'desperate' funding plea to prevent closure

A bereavement charity which helps hundreds of grieving Sheffielders each year has warned it is weeks from closure due to a funding shortage.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 22 February, 2018, 16:57
Cruse Bereavement Care in Sheffield has more than 100 adults on its waiting list

Cruse Bereavement Care in Sheffield offers free confidential support to those of all ages who have lost a loved one, and claims to be the only organisation of its kind in South Yorkshire.

But the volunteer-led service, which is the local branch of national charity Cruse, has issued an urgent appeal for funding so it can continue to console mourners across the city.

Rachel Olney, Julia Twigg and Julie Woolway (photo: Chris Etchells)

Such is the demand, it has already had to temporarily close its adult waiting list as there are more than 100 people on it, waiting up to three months to be seen.

"We are stretched to the limit at present. We urgently need funds so that we can continue to offer support to the people of Sheffield," said Rachel Olney, of Cruse Sheffield.

"We are in desperate need of funds and without Sheffielders' generosity we will be unable to continue to fund our service."

Cruse Sheffield has more than 50 volunteers who between them give around 700 hours each year of free face-to-face practical and emotional support to mourners. It also works with schools to help grief-stricken staff and students.

Rachel Olney, Julia Twigg and Julie Woolway (photo: Chris Etchells)

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The service relies entirely on donations, and each 50-minute session costs £35 to provide.

Ms Olney said it only had enough cash to keep running for another three months as things stand.

"It's a wonderful service because it enables so many people who couldn't otherwise afford it to access the support they really need," she said.

"Nothing quite prepares you for a death, even if it's an expected one. People come to us in shock and turmoil, and the help our volunteers provide makes a huge difference.

"The change from the first session to the last is often unimaginable. When they first come to us many people ask 'will I be OK?' but we give them their confidence back, enabling them to go out in the world, relate to people differently and get back to work."

Around 35 adults a week are referred to the service, mostly by their GPs but also by other healthcare staff, work colleagues, relatives and friends.

Cruse previously ran services in Doncaster and Rotherham, but these closed a few years ago.

* For more information about the service, and to donate, call 0114 249 3328, email sheffieldbranch@cruse.org.uk. You can also visit www.cruse.org.uk.