Cruse started out as a small local service focused on helping widows and their children through the bereavement process and now Cruse Bereavement Care is the most highly respected bereavement care charity in the United Kingdom. It offers bereavement services, support and counseling to people across England, Northern Ireland, Wales and (via its sister charity) Scotland.
In addition to helping individual people deal with grief, Cruse has also been contracted by larger organizations. They were flown to New York after 9/11 to help support Brits living in the states. The Metro Police contracted them to help lend support after the London bombings and the LOCOG hired them to provide support if it was needed during the Paralympic and the Olympic Games.
The Individuality of Grief
Cruse understands that grief and bereavement are different for everyone. Though many are able to work through the grieving process safely because they are supported by friends and loved ones, others are not so lucky. Many people find themselves either without a support system or that they do not how to reach out to an existing support system for help. With the understanding that the loss of a loved one can be the most damaging and terrible thing someone experiences, the people behind the charity make it their business to be there for you when someone dies.
The People behind the Name
Cruse has developed an extensive variety of different services to help people deal with their grief. This free service is provided by volunteers whom have been intensely trained and are closely supervised. They are required to partake in ongoing development courses and training for as long as they are volunteers for the charity. While Cruse’s volunteers come from every social construct, one thing that binds the majority of them is that they were once on the receiving end of Cruse’s services.
The training the volunteers receive is all funded by Cruse. In addition to individual counselor and volunteer training, Cruse has worked with Brighton Funeral Directors and provided courses in bereavement awareness to Brighton Funeral Home staff.
The services offered by Cruse range to fit the many different needs of the bereaved person. Some people might simply need someone to call when the grief gets too intense to handle alone. Others take part in the support groups that are offered to help people dealing with grief after specific circumstances for example, losing a loved one who has taken their own life. There are also helplines available to people who are confused by some of the “side effects” of grief (the feeling of losing one’s mind is quite common after a loved one dies).
In addition to the help lines and support groups, Cruse also offers the majority of its services and support in one-to-one or family sessions.
Their Work with Children
It has long been understood that children—especially very young children—process death and grief differently than teens and adults. Cruse is the region’s largest and most highly respected provider of bereavement care for young children living in the UK. They have written materials, a free help-line and a special website geared toward a younger audience that is equipped with message boards and email support. They also offer one-on-one /in-person counseling sessions to children who need specialized support and care.
Carrying the Banner
In addition to offering individualized support and help to grieving people, Cruse also works tirelessly to raise awareness about bereavement and its affects. The charity’s goal is to change the way the bereaved are viewed and treated in today’s society. They helped campaign for changes in government policy, against changes made to bereavement benefit packages and even in the chief coroner’s campaign. They are currently focused on Brighton funeral poverty and workplace bereavement care and leave.
They are also currently working hard to prevent medical examiner costs from being passed on to those who are grieving and at developing Bereavement Care Service Standards with the Bereavement Services Association.
Besides the already mentioned campaigns and goals, Cruse is always working to grow and develop as a charity. They recently put together a five year plan to ensure that they can continue to offer the support and services they currently offer while also allowing for expansion.
Lend Your Support
Brighton Funeral staff and directors can take part in the training offered through Cruse for helping bereaved people deal with the funeral process. Individuals can contribute privately directly through donations.
Supporters receive certificates of training completion that they can display and literature to read and share with other bereaved people.
Bereavement issues affect everyone at some point or another. Knowing that you have someone to turn to is the best way to get through grief in healthy and productive ways.