HELP is at hand for people trying to deal with bereavement thanks to a popular support group.
Hartlepool Bereavement Service is a one-stop shop aimed at helping people through difficult times after the loss of a loved one.
Not only does the service provide one to one emotional support but it also offers a variety of practical services and has links to agencies who can help with welfare benefits and wills.
A key and popular part of the service is the social group which meets at the Oakroyd Hotel, in Park Road, on the last Thursday of every month at 7.30pm.
People from all walks of life go along and chat with other people who are currently going through, or have been through, a bereavement.
Each year the group holds a Christmas dinner and 28 people recently headed to the Staincliffe Hotel, in Seaton Carew, for the meal.
The voluntary bereavement service, based in Park Road, is run by Linda Parker and a team of qualified and experienced volunteers.
Bereavement officer Linda said people can often become isolated during the grieving process and the support group offers a way for people to meet others.
She said: “The social group meets once a month and people drop in and they often stay as members of the group.
“It is part of the healing process to go out and meet people.
“The support group provides a link for the bereavement service as a whole.”
As well as providing emotional and social support the service also provides a range of practical support.
People that have been bereaved can suddenly be faced with a host of issues which can include housing, benefits, wills and advocacy.
But help is on hand and the service also has close links with legal firms, welfare agencies and other specialist services.
It caters for all age groups and the volunteers can either make home visits or hold appointments in the Park Road office.
Linda helped set up the charity after finding a lack of support for bereaved people in Hartlepool while working as a project manager for Advocacy Information Foundation.
She said: “If the practical side is not dealt with then it could push somebody over the edge.
“Once the practical side is in hand then at least people can go through the grieving process.”
For more information or to book an appointment call the service on (01429) 244689.