"I gained strength from being immersed in the company of those who genuinely understand, and I left safe in the knowledge that the shared understanding and compassion of you and your team of volunteers, as well as the friendship of those I met, will help to carry me through my every day." S, whose sn died in 2016 from substance use
Peer support is integral to the work of The Compassionate Friends: bereaved parents supporting other bereaved parents after the death from any cause of a beloved son or daughter of any age. Bereaved parents who are further along in their grief sometimes wish to help other parents who are in the earlier devastating stages of bereavement by becoming volunteers with The Compassionate Friends and working on a range of projects and services that provide support, compassion and friendship to bereaved parents.
Recruitment, training and support of volunteer bereaved parents are vital roles within The Compassionate Friends. Not only do they provide volunteers without whom we could not operate, they also form and strengthen a sense of community between bereaved parents who gain strength and succour from this community, this club that no-one wanted to join. Therefore, our project is a series of training and support days and activities for new and existing bereaved parent volunteers around the UK.
As a national organisation, The Compassionate Friends aims to be represented in every country and region of the UK. Therefore, our training and support activities and events for volunteers take place around the country.
The training and support activities aim to present The Compassionate Friends and its work to prospective volunteers and to build and develop the skills of existing volunteers. Bereaved parents come from all geographical areas of the UK and from all sorts of backgrounds. The causes of death and ages of their beloved children are also different. But, by coming and learning together, they form a real community of volunteers supporting one another, but, more importantly, supporting other bereaved parents, most of whom are more recently bereaved.
Our calendar of volunteer training and support days and activities spans twelve months and takes place in as many regions of the UK as possible. Training and support activities are promoted on social media, newsletters and on the volunteer pages of our website.
"When our son died, we were lost and felt so alone. No-one could understand what we were going through, what we were feeling. Meeting other bereaved parents we realised that we were not alone. They really understood our fears and our experiences and helped us to cope."