Grieving for a child can be a lonely path. The whole philosophy behind The Compassionate Friends is putting bereaved parents in touch with each other for peer-to-peer support. A grief companion can provide one-to-one contact for up to a year for parents who are in their first or second year of bereavement and who have lost a child from 3 months old up to an adult child. A grief companion will be usually be offered to parents who live in areas of the UK where we are unable to offer peer support through an existing local TCF volunteer contact or support group.
Your grief companion will be another volunteer bereaved parent who will offer you informal support and friendship. He or she will be at least 3 years bereaved. Grief companions are not counsellors and nor are they formally trained but they will offer you an opportunity to share your grief and experiences. They will 'walk alongside' you and be a listening ear and an understanding friend. The contact you have with your grief companion may be by phone, email or online media - whatever suits you both.
Please note that if you are in the very early days and weeks of your loss, for example, before your child’s funeral has taken place, if you are very distressed or while you are needing immediate and/or very frequent support, it may be too soon to connect you with a grief companion. In these very early days, it may be more appropriate to contact our Helpline on 0345 123 2304 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for their empathetic support. Your call will be answered by trained volunteers who are all bereaved parents.
Our Helpline Team will always advise callers about the different avenues of support available to you from TCF both nationally and locally depending on your circumstances and the nature of your loss. Where appropriate and particularly if there is no other local TCF support available to you, they will mention our Grief Companion Scheme. All requests for a grief companion need to go through our Helpline Team.
If you would like our Helpline Team member to put forward a request for a grief companion on your behalf, they will ask you for your contact details and details of your loss. These will be given to Shirley, our Grief Companion Coordinator who will then make contact with you to gather some additional information about your loss and to ask what you are looking for in a grief companion. This information will be requested via a simple form, which can be completed online, by post or over the phone. Shirley will then search for a suitable ‘match’ for you. Sometimes this can take some time so please be patient while we find the right person for you.
If you would like to be a grief companion, we would love to hear from you. The more companions we have available, the sooner we can find matches for our newly bereaved parents who will be in their first or second year of loss.
The grief companion scheme offers a newly bereaved parent an opportunity to share their grief and experiences with you, to have a friend who will 'walk alongside' them and be a listening ear. As you would be providing informal support and friendship to a more recently bereaved parent, you would need to be at least 3 or more years from your own bereavement. The contact you have may be by phone, email, and/or online media, whatever suits you both.
This can be a lovely way to start to volunteer with TCF and to honour your child. If you feel you would like to volunteer to offer to support in this way, you can read more and complete the online application here.
Each year thousands of parents suffer the loss of a son or a daughter. Please help us to support families in their time of greatest need.