Bereavement group ‘would not exist’ without axe-threatened voluntary service

Hartlepool Bereavement Service is celebrating after being awarded cash that will allow it to continue its work. Pictured are Berevement Service Manager Linda Parker (left) and Michelle Hall.

Hartlepool Bereavement Service is celebrating after being awarded cash that will allow it to continue its work. Pictured are Berevement Service Manager Linda Parker (left) and Michelle Hall.

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A WOMAN who set up a vital bereavement organisation says her service would not exist had it not been for the help of a closure-threatened voluntary service.

Linda Parker, who launched Hartlepool Bereavement Service, in Park Road, six years ago helping 1,000 mourners in that time, says she would not have been able to set up with out the help of Hartlepool Voluntary Development Association (HVDA).

Without the help of HVDA we’re going to see a lot of services not being available

Linda Parker, manager of Hartlepool Bereavement Service, in Park Road

The Mail reported how there is to be a reduction in HVDA’s services to voluntary groups after Hartlepool Borough Council cut its funding stream.

Linda says the consequences of the move will be “devastating”, and it will be a case of “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”.

She said: “You have an idea that you want to start off an agency to help people because you realise something is missing in the town, and you go to HVDA.

“To me HVDA is like the core of the town holding the whole of our voluntary support network together.

“You work hard as the manager of the project, but when you initially start off you need their support with funding and paper work. HVDA is vital, absolutely vital.

“HVDA has been instrumental in helping groups to set up, and even stay set up, because even when you’re up and running you still need to apply for funds. HVDA come on board and help with all of that.

“Without the help of HVDA we’re going to see a lot of services not being available, and any future groups won’t have that help, support and knowledge.”

She added: “I would go as far as saying my service wouldn’t be here without the help of HVDA.

“They’ve been here for such a long time and I think it will be a case of the old saying ‘you don’t miss it until it’s not there’.

“I’m not really into politics and that, but I know that the voluntary sector takes pressure from statutory bodies. If you don’t have that voluntary support then there will be more pressure on statutory bodies, maybe not straight away but in a year or so we’ll see the effects.”

Hartlepool Bereavement Service helps bereaved people emotionally and practically when they had lost a loved one.