Living with Loss Café Easing Loneliness
The theme of this Mental Health Awareness week is loneliness, which includes those who have been bereaved. Clifton Parish have been running a monthly Living with Loss session to help ease the loneliness, it is complemented by a weekly drop in café which is open to all.
The idea for the café started during the pandemic when the clergy team noticed the need for companionship amongst people who had lost loved ones. The local funeral director described how people often visited their office after the funeral for a chat.
A group of volunteers from Clifton Parish decided to attend the Grief and Loss workshop offered by our partner, Transforming Notts Together, to learn more.
Associate minister, Gill said: “The training is a very accessible and practical way to learn how to support people who are grieving. Julia, the coordinator, is very supportive too.”
The group decided to create a space for people to talk about their loved ones and how they’re feeling as people often find it easier to talk to somebody who isn’t a relative or friend. Volunteers are compassionate listeners who can signpost attendees to professional services and charities for help.
The café aims to celebrate the lives of the people who have passed away with crafts and a space to light candles and leave messages. They have a discussion topic too.
The sessions have discussions for attendees to get involved in and are ended with sharing tips on how to cope with grief and a prayer.
Gill added, “We have people who have come from the start as well as some who come once or twice, but they’re always welcome to return. The café has even been recommended by GPs to their patients and is supported by colleagues from local funeral directors who drop in to help when they are able.
As a team, we pray about the café a lot and consider what God wants us to do next. We’re considering starting a café for people who can’t attend during the weekdays like those with fulltime jobs or caring commitments.
We have the privilege of getting to know passed loved ones through the people who are mourning them. There’s no quick fix for loneliness or grief, so we are prepared to walk the journey with them.”