Hartlepool MP's sadness at closure of town bereavement service

Hartlepool's MP has praised dedicated staff at a bereavement service in the town which closed its doors for the final time on Christmas Eve due to a lack of funding.

Sunday, 24th December 2017, 11:40 am
Updated Sunday, 24th December 2017, 11:45 am
Hartlepool Bereavement Service chair Edgar Coulson. manager Linda Parker, advisor Peter Gowland, and board member June Markwell,

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

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

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill. Picture by FRANK REID

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

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

The organisation previously received two Lottery grants which paid for the service for its first six years in operation.

But for the last two and a half years it has relied solely on donations, reserves and committee members.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill. Picture by FRANK REID

Town MP Mike Hill, writing on his Facebook page, spoke of his sadness at the news, saying: “Real shame about this.

“We tried to help but CCG (clinical commissioning group) money has gone to others to provide the same service.

“Linda and everyone have supported so many people over the years.

“Take my hat off to them.”

Speaking about the closure, 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.”

He added that he felt the loss of the service will have a big impact.

“We did a survey about two years ago and 97 per cent of respondents said it is something that Hartlepool needs,” said Peter.

“We are really valued, but the service is gone.”