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How to become a bereavement supporter 

Coping with bereavement can be one of the most difficult and challenging periods in a person’s life. Each person responds to bereavement in very personal and individual ways. Many people find important support from organisations that are able to help them to understand their grief and cope with their loss.

On this page:

What does this role involve?
What will I get out of this?
What will I be expected to give back?
What skills do I need?
How do I get involved?

What does this role involve?

Offering support to people who have experienced bereavement is not easy. You are helping people through the darkest and most difficult time in their lives. However, being there to listen to them can make a very positive difference. As a bereavement supporter you would give people the time and space to talk through their feelings, acknowledge how they feel and help them to express and work through their grief. You would be supporting bereaved people either on the telephone or through one-to-one contact.

You may feel that a volunteer counsellor role is not for you, but you would still like to support bereaved people in other ways. You could support your local bereavement project or group in a number of ways, including:

  • providing help with fundraising
  • organising publicity
  • administrative support
  • being part of the management committee
  • organise social events

    What will I get out of this?

    As a bereavement supporter you would be providing an important and much needed service. Supporting people who have lost someone close to them, helping them to acknowledge and express their grief, can be an extremely humbling and rewarding experience. You would also have the opportunity to gain and develop skills, through training and work experience. Many bereavement volunteers find that supporting people through the darkest time of their lives has helped them to develop their own interpersonal skills, making them most compassionate and better at listening to people.


    What will I be expected to give back?

    You would be expected to give a few hours time each week to support people either pace-to-face or on the telephone. You should also expect to make time for training before starting your new role.


    What skills do I need?

    Whilst you don’t need any specific qualifications or previous experience, there are some important personal qualities and skills needed for this role. You should be:

  • caring
  • compassionate
  • approachable
  • patient
  • a good listener
  • committed to confidentiality
  • non-judgmental and open minded

    How do I get involved?

    There are a number of organisations and groups that offer support to people who have experienced bereavement. Some are large national organisations that provide a range of support services, whilst others are smaller local support groups.

    Useful Contact

    Cruse Bereavement Care is a UK wide organisation providing advice, counselling and information for anyone who has experienced bereavement. They rely on volunteers to help them deliver key aspects of their service delivery.

    Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland- Head Office
    Riverview House
    Friarton Rd
    PH2 8DF

    tel: 01738 444178

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