Shetland Bereavement Support Scheme   Shetland Bereavement Support Scheme
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BIG Lottery Fund award £138,320 to local bereavement support service

Shetland Bereavement Support Service has received £138,320 of BIG Lottery Funding to continue its bereavement support work over the next three years, addressing issues of loss, including grief, loneliness and isolation in relation to bereavement.

“We are absolutely delighted to receive this award from the BIG lottery fund.  It will enable us to recruit more volunteers and invest more in training, particularly to support children through bereavement.  Shetland has no other dedicated bereavement service, so it is great that the BIG Lottery Fund has recognised our role in providing the Shetland community with local, specialist support.  Bereavement affects everyone, and we are here for anyone struggling to cope with their grief.” Rita Rendall, Chair

SBSS will use the money to continue provision of its free & confidential one to one bereavement support service to anyone, including children, living in Shetland.  It will also provide bereavement training and awareness courses, recruitment of volunteers, and offer a new memory box service to families experiencing bereavement.

Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, said: “I am delighted that Shetland Bereavement Support Service has been successful in securing a Big Lottery Fund grant. The funding will make a big difference where it is needed most and I wish Shetland Bereavement Support Service every success as it goes on to develop and expand its project for the benefit of their local community.”

Since SBSS began its one to one support service in 2007, it has supported 263 clients on a one to one basis; this represents many thousands of hours of support provided by specially trained volunteers, support which is not provided by any other service in Shetland.  With currently only one child support volunteer, the new funding will enable SBSS to train more volunteers to specialise in children’s bereavement support, allowing the service to support children throughout Shetland who are experiencing very difficult and sometimes complex emotions.

The BIG lottery funding will also be used to develop a new ‘Memory Box’ project aimed at families affected by bereavement.  The boxes are for families to work through together, to talk about the person they have lost and share their thoughts on what that person meant to each of them, to create happy, positive memories, but also to work through more difficult feelings such as anger, guilt, sadness and loneliness.

Families come in all shapes and sizes, so the contents of the box will change to suit each family.  If the bereavement was suicide related, then materials to support the family through a complex and sudden death would be included.  Each box has the potential to be completely different.

The family can also add to the memory box.  Maybe they have a favourite belonging, watch, bracelet, perfume, sweetie that reminds them of their lost loved one that they’d like to add to the box.  The box is meant to last for a long time and become a treasured keepsake for all the family to access when they need to.

SBSS is based at Market House in Lerwick and anyone seeking support following a bereavement can self refer to the service.   The service is free and confidential, and delivered by experienced and fully trained volunteers.  Please see our website for further details, or contact the service on 01595 743933 / sbss@shetland.org for more information.  April 2017

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