Project information

Bereavement Support for older people

Being bereaved can be a very disabling process and can often lead to isolation & depression, especially in older people whose own health may be deteriorating. Providing trained volunteer visitors to provide support at this most difficult of times helps people move forward & improve quality of life.

Existing project with ongoing need which we're struggling to fund

Charity information

Age Concern Gateshead

Age Concern Gateshead logo
  • Need


    Bereavement can result in anxiety, loss of confidence, panic, loss of appetite, shock, guilt, anger, isolation & depression. Many older people become isolated after bereavement and this seriously affects people's quality of life. Sally (aged 84):"We'd been married 64 years & I've got no family. I'm completely on my own now & feel as if I've nothing to live for. I feel so empty & without hope."


    Our Bereavement Support Project focusses on what individuals want & need - as bereavement can be a different experience for everyone. Our trained volunteers visit clients in their own homes to provide support. This might be for a few weeks or a few months. Sally (aged 85): "I was very upset for the first few visits & just needed someone to hold my hand while I cried. But now my volunteer is helping me think about the future & I feel a bit stronger". We also run a bereavement support group

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To provide support for older people in Gateshead who have been bereaved


    » Trained bereavement volunteer visitors visit clients in their own homes to provide individual support.
    » We also run a bereavement support group in central Gateshead where people can support each other & learn from each other.

    Success will be...providing support to 70 bereaved older people a year which will improve their wellbeing & quality of life, & help them move forward.

  • Impact


    We will be helping people through the most difficult time of their lives. The right support at the right time significantly helps people cope & reduces isolation & depression. Over time we help people to understand that there is hope & their life is still there to be lived. Even the smallest things can help: eg Joan lost her husband after 55 years. After several sessions, her volunteer realised Joan was interested in crafts & supported her to join a local crafts group which Joan now enjoys.


    - Not enough volunteers (we actively recruit so this hasn't yet been a problem)
    - Volunteers visiting people's homes (all volunteers are CRB checked, our staff member meets the client first before matching with a volunteer, we have a lone working policy)
    - Not enough demand for the service (the demand is fairly consistent with the summer being quieter & after Christmas very busy)
    - Client needs more support than we can give them (we can refer on to general counselling services if needed etc)


    We record the number of clients, sessions, volunteers and also gather case histories. We monitor how a client is at their first session, their progress and how they are at their final session.
    We would be happy to provide whatever type of report a donor would wish!

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £10,250

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £7,650 Staff salary/NI/Pension Existing staff member 1.5 days per week
      £1,250 Travel costs for volunteers & staff
      £1,350 Training/support/drop-in Ongoing training/support meetings for volunteers to debrief etc.Drop-in group.Publicity, admin.

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    The Hadrian Trust £750 Guaranteed
    Benfield Motors Charitable Trust £1,500 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Our Bereavement Support project is run from our premises in Gateshead town centre but our staff member & volunteers travel to the homes of our clients across Gateshead to ensure that they have safe & comfortable access to our service. Home visits mean a client doesn't have to worry about if they've got the energy or confidence to leave the house that day & travel to us - & indeed some of our clients are fairly housebound anyway. Our support group is also in a fairly central part of Gateshead


    Older people throughout Gateshead who have been bereaved will benefit from our project. Whilst many cases relate to the death of a partner (often after 40 or 50 years of marriage), other cases have included a lady in her late 90s whose son, her only family member & carer, died suddenly & tragically; suicide of a gentleman's granddaughter; for some, death of a partner in later life can mean they have absolutely no family left which can make the situation even more difficult.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have run our Bereavement Support service since 2004. It's an existing project which meets an ongoing need & there is no other similar service in Gateshead.
    We have a fantastic team of bereavement volunteers who undergo initial bereavement/listening skills training plus ongoing training sessions. Our staff member, Val (see below) is a trained bereavement counsellor.
    We've worked hard to raise awareness of the project & receive regular referrals from GPs, health/social workers etc.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Val Jewitt

    Val is our Good Companions Co-ordinator and runs a range of projects which reduce isolation - & our Bereavement Support project is one of these.

    Our Bereavement Volunteers

    On average, we have a team of about 8 - 10 in our fantastic bereavement volunteer team & couldn't run this project without them.


Will run a support group session

"Very lonely after my wife died. My volunteer encouraged me to join a local social group after a while- I never thought I'd have friends again!"

Alan (77)