Families struggling to come to terms with the loss of a loved one are being offered free bereavement support through Crowborough-based funeral director, Tester & Jones.
The scheme, SAIFCare, is a partnership between the trade association for independent, local funeral directors, of which Tester & Jones is a member – and bereavement support specialist Professional Help.
It has been launched in response to the growing awareness of the need for many people to seek support following the death of a close friend or relative.
Under SAIFCare, family members will be offered up to six free counselling sessions, which can be used by one person or split between various members of a family. Delivered by a qualified bereavement counsellor, the sessions can take place at a location of the bereaved person’s choosing or by telephone and even online chat and email.
Glenys Jones, joint owner of Tester & Jones, said the service will help local families at a difficult time:
We have already acknowledged that many people need support after a funeral has taken place and offer our families the opportunity to join our Bereavement Support Group,” she says. “However, some people need additional support and offering SAIFCare will enable us to go above and beyond for the families in our care, ensuring they get the help and advice they need at life’s most difficult time.
Funeral profession trade association, SAIF, piloted the service with 13 of its funeral director members last year and quickly identified a need to expand it across a wider area. Funeral directors who are members of the organisation have to opt in to offer the service.
Terry Tennens, the Chief Executive of the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) explains:
It was clear from our trial that people really welcome and rely on the extra support from their funeral director. Whether it’s a growing recognition by the NHS of the benefits of counselling or the current demand placed on existing bereavement organisations, we are in no doubt that more people are seeking help following the death of someone close. Funeral directors are ideally placed to help.
Catherine Betley, founder of Professional Help, which is an organisational member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, said:
There is no time limit on grief, but we do know that providing support early on in the journey can have significant benefits for a person’s wellbeing. I’m sure SAIFCare will provide help and comfort to many people.
To find our more about the support offered following a bereavement and the role of SAIFCare, call Tester & Jones on 01892 611811.