Islington Bereavement Service seeks volunteers

Volunteers for the Islington Bereavement Service

Volunteers for the Islington Bereavement Service - Credit: Archant

A service for bereaved people in Islington is looking for volunteers to offer practical, social and emotional support to those who have lost loved ones in the borough.

Run by St Joseph’s Hospice, the Islington Bereavement Service currently has 21 trained volunteers for the service, which has been running since June, and aims to have at least 40 by March 2016.

No previous experience is required – just empathy, flexibility, and good communication and listening skills.

As well as offering companionship, a listening ear and emotional support, volunteers will also accompany people to medical appointments, or on a local outing, as well as directing them to important services.

Helpers must be willing to offer five to six hours of their time per month for a minimum of six months. All travel expenses are paid, and volunteers will get a reference after six months. They will be supervised and supported throughout the process.

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Augusta, a 78-year-old volunteer who was matched with a 73-year-old woman named Ann, said: “At the beginning of the sessions Ann was stuck in tears and distressed. My training enabled me to listen, wait and stay with Ann’s pain rather than shutting it down. Ann described a change from pain to now ‘lovely’ memories. Christmas was discussed and it was decided Ann would visit relatives who reminded her of her husband.”

She added: “At times I felt overwhelmed during the sessions and talked about the balance of keeping boundaries but being open. It was a sometimes difficult but meaningful experience for both myself and the community member.”

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Ann, who has now had five bereavement sessions with Augusta, said: “I don’t feel I would have gotten this far without her”.

Volunteers must undertake a two-day training course on January 21 and 22 2016. Interviews will take place on December 16 and January 14th.

For more information contact Lourdes or Kathy on 020 3317 5774 or email

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