A BALSALL COMMON widow is appealing for volunteers to expand her bereavement cafés across the region.
Tracey McAtamney who runs the Surviving Bereavement Foundation, needs help to keep pace with the demand for her monthly cafés which were first established in 2019.
The popular two-hour sessions take place in Balsall Common, Berkswell, Coventry, Kenilworth, Leamington and Solihull, with hopes they’ll also soon be introduced in Stratford-upon-Avon and Nuneaton, in Warwickshire.
Tracey set up the foundation in 2019 in memory of her late husband Tony who suddenly collapsed and died in his hotel room while on a golfing holiday in Spain at the age of 38.
She was no stranger to grief even at an early age, after losing her father in an accident when she was just seven – the same age as her youngest son Oliver.
The Foundation offers legal and financial advice as well as practical help, all the things, Tracey says, that were not available to her.
It also provides bespoke Memory Boxes for grieving children and young adults, and typically contain items such as forget-me-not seeds, a personalised book and letter, journal, cuddle bears and other age-relevant items.
She said: “Our aim is to raise awareness of not just the emotional aspect of grief, but also the practical and the mental wellbeing required to survive bereavement.
“The café role is perfect for anyone with time to spare, is compassionate and can offer a listening ear. They would just need to set up the banner, welcome people and make introductions. People generally will then talk to each other. There will be signposting information for people to take away if required.
“The Bereavement Cafés help to support anyone feeling sad or isolated following the loss of a loved one and bring a little happiness to the day. They offer a relaxed, safe environment to talk with others who are going through similar circumstances.”
The cafés and the memory boxes are funded by sponsorship and the generosity of local businesses.
It is hoped the cafes will continue to grow and help navigate more people through their journey with grief which, Tracey promises, does become easier.
For more information how to get involved contact [email protected]