20 November 2015
Macmillan Cancer Support and Cruse Bereavement Care are using their combined expertise to provide bereavement support for people who have lost a loved one through cancer.
In the past year, Cruse have witnessed a 15% increase in requests for support in relation to a death by cancer and it’s hoped that the service will provide support to over 420 people bereaved by cancer across Northern Ireland in its first year alone.
Cruse recruits volunteers, who receive comprehensive training in bereavement counselling. They then undertake further training with Macmillan to increase their skills and knowledge about cancer.
Paul Finnegan, Director of Cruse Northern Ireland, says he is delighted to be working with Macmillan:
“Cruse Bereavement Care values our partnership with Macmillan very highly. We are well aware that cancer is the number one cause of death in Northern Ireland. Both organisations share a vision to improve end of life care, where cancer patients will have received care in the community or in palliative care units complemented by the vital bereavement support offered to people close to them.
“We have found that sharing our expertise has greatly benefited our clients. And, since the launch of the pilot project, we’ve also seen an increase in the number of volunteers coming forward to train as bereavement counsellors.
The service offers face-to-face support and information, tailored specifically to suit the needs of the people receiving counselling. This partnership between Cruse and Macmillan is the first of its kind throughout the whole of the UK.
Paula Kealey, Senior Development Manager with Macmillan says sharing expertise is key to the success of the service:
“In recent years more and more people of all ages who have lost a loved one through cancer are contacting Cruse for bereavement support. This is where Macmillan can help to play a vital role in terms of providing specialist training to Cruse volunteers.
“This partnership brings together the expertise and knowledge of both organisations and is supporting people who are finding their loss particularly difficult to deal with. The service, now available across the whole of N.I., lets people know they are not alone and that support is there for them, to help see them through the most difficult of times.”
Pauline Kelly from Antrim credits the service with helping her through her darkest days after the death of her husband, Dermot, last year:
“Watching someone you love die from cancer is devastating. Little things you take for granted change and disappear so suddenly. I remember that I used to love holding my husband’s hand. However from the day he was diagnosed until the day he died, this took on a totally different feel. It went from being a loving gesture to him grabbing my hand in fear or holding it intently in anger.
“The Cruse/Macmillan counselling service made all the difference to me. They showed me that I wasn’t alone and that it was ok to feel the way I was feeling, that the darkness does go away. They stopped me from becoming bitter and angry and gave me a little wall of defence.”
The Cruse NI helpline is open Monday-Friday 9.30-5pm on 0844 477 9400 and the Macmillan Support Line can be contacted on 0808 808 00 00