The Southern Co-operative - The Bereavement Centre

The Experian Building Stronger Communities Award, in recognition of Sir John Peace, Shortlisted, 2016

The Bereavement Centre offers free one-to-one counselling, support groups and memorial services to all of those who are grieving in the Portsmouth area. The Centre also provides training for those who deal with the bereaved.

Good for society

  • Bereavement support and friendship was provided to over 6,800 bereaved individuals between January 2014 and December 2015.
  • Educational support was provided to over 3,970 individuals through community partnerships, helping them to facilitate the needs of the bereaved and grow their knowledge of the death process.

Good for business

  • The Bereavement Centre trains 120 employees annually on supporting the bereaved. This saves the Southern Co-operative an average of £23,040 on external bereavement services.
  • The service attracts positive press coverage, including 22 articles between January 2014 and December 2015, worth equivalent to an advertising spend of over £3,000.

The Southern Co-operative

Set up by the Southern Co-operative, which runs around 250 community food stores and funeral branches, the Bereavement Centre aims to bring comfort for all those who have experienced the death of a loved one.

As well as providing services for the bereaved, the Bereavement Centre also offers bespoke training, conferences and workshops to its community partnership groups, such as hospices, hospitals and charities.

The Southern Co-operative recognised that the South’s rapidly ageing population presented a social issue of concern to its members and communities. Using its expertise within the end of life sector, The Bereavement Centre was developed, allowing the co-operative to support, educate and improve the wellbeing of communities, especially the elderly.

The service is run by experienced professionals and volunteers, with its offering continually growing and expanding.  6,800 grieving individuals were supported and 3,970 people given training in supporting others between Janary 2014 and December 2015.

These figures don’t include those who benefit indirectly from the bereavement services, such as families, colleagues and friends of those who have been supported.

Each year the Bereavement Centre trains 120 employees on supporting the bereaved. This saves the Southern Co-operative around £23,040 a year on external bereavement service costs. Staff at the co-operative are also able to utilise the Bereavement Centre’s services to maintain their emotional welfare in a sometimes distressing job role.

What The Southern Co-operative's Chief Executive said:

“The Southern Co-operative is using its End of Life expertise and experience to provide a bespoke and comprehensive range of free services through The Bereavement Centre.

“I’m extremely proud of the Bereavement Centre’s achievements over recent years. The service has helped to improve the lives of many people in our communities who have suffered loss and educated multiple organisations and professionals who in turn are putting their training into practice to help those who are bereaved.” - Mark Smith, Chief Executive, The Southern Co-operative