Free bereavement counselling service for Welwyn Hatfield families launched

There is an increasing awareness of how counselling can help bereavement. Picture: Archant

There is an increasing awareness of how counselling can help bereavement. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Families in Welwyn Hatfield and the surrounding areas struggling to come to terms with the loss of a loved one are to be offered free bereavement support as part of a new scheme.

Justin Burgess. Photo: Supplied by Justin Burgess

Justin Burgess. Photo: Supplied by Justin Burgess - Credit: supplied by Justin Burgess

Funeral directors J.J. Burgess & Sons will offer its adult clients the support thanks to a partnership between the trade association the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) and bereavement support specialist Professional Help Ltd.

J.J. Burgess & Sons has branches in Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield, Knebworth and St Albans.

The scheme, entitled SAIFCare, comes in response to a 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.

Justin Burgess, proprietor of J.J.Burgess & Sons and a member of SAIF, said the service would help local families at a difficult time.

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He said: “As funeral directors, we often see people at the start of their journey of grief and feel we would like to do more to assist, as we know that feelings of sadness and loss don’t end with the funeral.

“This service enables us to go above and beyond for the families in our care in order to ensure they get the support and advice they need at life’s most difficult time.”

SAIF has piloted the service at 13 of its other member funeral directors last year and have decided to expand the scheme.

Terry Tennens, chief executive of SAIF, said that demand for bereavement counselling was huge.

“It was clear from our trial that people really welcome and rely on the extra support from their funeral director and we are certain that this will be replicated as we roll the service out to more of our members across the UK.

“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 a death of someone close.

“It suggests that the famed British stiff upper lip has become outdated, as people become more aware of the benefits of getting professional support at a time of personal crisis.

“Funeral directors are ideally placed to help.”

To find out more, call 0800 174 2200.

People not eligible for this service are welcome to contact J.J.Burgess & Sons for signposting to available support.