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North East hospice supports communities through online bereavement training for employers

A North East charity is offering a new online bereavement support training programme for employers across the UK.

St Oswald’s Hospice has been providing bereavement support for over 35 years and is now trying to reach more people in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2020, there were almost 85,000 more deaths than would have been expected for the year.

More than ever, it is incumbent on organisations to support their employees after a bereavement.

As well as providing frontline services during COVID-19, St Oswald’s Hospice’s Bereavement Team has been delivering webinars to help employers understand the impact of grief, loss and bereavement.

The online training is designed to help employers understand how to positively support a colleague back to work following the death of a loved one, from providing practical tips and advice, to looking at the importance of having a strategy in place within an organisation.

Steph Edusei, Chief Executive at St Oswald’s Hospice, said: “St Oswald’s Hospice has always been a charity that has developed services around its communities’ needs.

“In the face of unprecedented demand for our bereavement support service, the new training programme was developed last September, and continues to grow and develop.

“We know that bereavement is a huge challenge for employers as most of us will experience bereavement during our working lives.

“Recognising that this is a really difficult period for businesses, the webinars support staff to gain the skills and the confidence they need to provide good support for colleagues returning to work after a bereavement.”

Since launching the virtual initiative in September 2020, St Oswald’s Hospice has delivered bereavement webinars to 146 people from businesses across the country.

Additionally, 87 per cent of people who attended the training said they’d be ‘likely’ or ‘extremely likely’ to recommend it to others.

Ian Dormer, managing director at Rosh Engineering, attended a webinar with colleagues.

He said: “I feel so much better equipped to support staff after attending this training.

“While businesses can write policies on supporting staff though a bereavement, it’s important that line managers and staff receive training to support one another.

“From what might seem simple practicalities about what to say to a colleague who has had a bereavement, to using appropriate terminologies, it was great to hear from the experts about how to handle these situations.”

If you or your organisation would like to find out more about a bespoke bereavement training package, contact Laura Barrett at [email protected].