Four new ‘Bereavement Cafés’ set to open to help cope with increasing demands and support from a charity hospice.

In order to keep pace with demand for lighter-touch support for local people facing the loss of a loved one,

St Clare Hospice in Hastingwood will monthly meet-up points in Chigwell, Ongar, Nazeing and Harlow for those facing the loss of a loved one.

Run in partnership with Epping Forest Disitrct Council and Harlow’s Rainbow Services, two events already running in Dunmow and within the Hospice.

“When we asked local people what support they’d recommend to a grieving friend or family member, we were astounded that 24% were unable to answer – with many simply admitting they’d refer to a GP,” said Sally Muylders, community engagement manager at St Clare Hospice.

“However, when asked what they knew to have helped a relative through grief, 77% said support from friends, family and neighbours was most helpful – whilst 38% said social groups or activities.”

Almost 100 people responded to the survey set out by St Clare with 69% of respondents saying they’d like to see the Hospice develop more bereavement support groups.

A further 57% agreed that more social groups for bereaved locals would be beneficial.

“Social isolation is fast becoming one of the nation’s most critical concerns in the UK, with bereavement at the top of the list for key risk factors, explained MS Mulvders. “With ‘social prescribing’ finally on the rise throughout Europe and in the NHS, it’s clear that community support and social wellbeing go hand in hand and, here at St Clare, we know that is especially true when it comes to bereavement.”

The Hospice’s new project will be community-led and falls in line with their strategy goals; to reach more people facing death and loss whilst connect them together for support.

Michele Tavarone, a social worker within St Clare’s Patient & Family Support team, explained: “Our Bereavement Café events are very relaxed and informal with tea, coffee and cake, just like a real café.

“It offers people an opportunity and a safe place to meet others who understand what they may be going through.

“There is no right or wrong way to experience grief, but sometimes, it can be good to simply chat and hear other people’s stories.”

The following dates, times and addresses for the new cafés are listed below:


Hyde Mead House, Hyde Mead, Nazeing, First Wednesday of the month from 1.30pm – 3.30pm


Limes Farm Community Café (The Limes Centre), Limes Avenue, Chigwell, First Monday of the month, 9.30am – 11.30am


Harlow Playhouse, Harlow, Last Friday of the month, 10.30am – 12.30pm


St Martins Church, Chipping Ongar, Third Thursday of the month (starting Thursday, June 20) 1.30pm – 3.30pm

St Clare Bereavement Café events are free to attend and a welcome to anyone, find out more at:

Call 01279 773709 or email for more information.