Hartlepool Bereavement Service will close on Christmas Eve after funding dries up

Hartlepool's dedicated service to help people cope with the loss of a loved on will close this weekend after funding ran out.

Friday, 22nd December 2017, 2:58 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd December 2017, 3:00 pm
Hartlepool Bereavement Service chair Edgar Coulson. manager Linda Parker, advisor Peter Gowland, and board member June Markwell,

The Mail reported in November that Hartlepool Bereavement Service was facing closure by the end of the year.

The service, based in Park Road, launched an appeal for money to save it during the summer but was unsuccessful.

Now, after eight years and having helped more than 1,700 bereaved people cope with both the emotional and the practical consequences of a loss, the service will formally close for good on Christmas Eve.

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Peter Gowland, who is one of five committee members, said: “That's it, it has gone - the service is no more..

"We did everything we could to try to find extra funding, but that did not materialise. We have ended the lease on the building.

"Everybody said how sad it was that we had to close but we have not raised enough to keep it going."

The bereavement service axed one position and manager Linda Parker cut her hours in an effort to stay open as long as possible.

It previously received two lottery grants which paid for the service for its first six years. But for the last two and a half years it has relied on donations, reserves and committee members.

He praised Linda Parker for her efforts on keeping the service running for as long as it has.

"The Big Lottery funded us twice, which is quite unusual," he said.

"They were quite enamoured of the service, so they funded us a second time. We did try for a third time but we knew that was unlikely.

"Linda managed to keep us going through donations, but we officially close on Christmas Eve."

Peter believes the service will be a big loss to the town: "We did a survey about two years ago and 97 per cent of respondents said it is something that Hartlepool needs," he said.

"We are really valued, but the service is gone."