After the bleakest of years, landmarks and buildings across the UK will light up yellow next Tuesday, 8 December, offering collective hope at the culmination of National Grief Awareness Week 2020. The campaign week, which is being supported by Brentford FC, starts today, Wednesday 2 December. We hope it will offer help to those that have lost friends or relatives in 2020 and recent years.
Organisers, The Good Grief Trust, aim to raise awareness across all bereaved communities that there is help and support if anyone is struggling after a Covid-19 bereavement, or under any circumstance. Through the week they are encouraging everybody to share their stories of loss on social media at #ShareYourStory and not let social distancing impact access to the help needed by the bereaved. The charity also supported those that were affected after the death of Robert Rowan, our Technical Director, in 2018.
The awareness week comes days after findings from an ongoing study by researchers at Cardiff University and the University of Bristol revealed half of those who lost a loved one during the pandemic were not provided with any information about bereavement support. Also, more than half (56 per cent) of people who tried to access bereavement services reported experiencing difficulties. 67 per cent were unable to say goodbye to their loved one as they would have liked, 81 per cent had limited contact with other close relatives or friends and 67 per cent experienced social isolation and loneliness.
Former Grange Hill actress, Linda Magistris, founded The Good Grief Trust in 2016, following the death of her partner Graham. She explained: “We know there is a tsunami of grief as a result of the pandemic. The impact of a bereavement, even under normal circumstances, can be devastating and life-long, yet hundreds of thousands of people have been grieving in isolation this year which may have a profound effect on their mental and physical health. National services have been overwhelmed. Through signposting to over 800 bespoke and local support services, The Good Grief Trust provides help and hope to anyone affected by grief under any circumstance, anywhere in the UK ”
Leading the beacon of light is St Paul’s Cathedral, which will light up its iconic dome at 6pm next Tuesday after hosting a dedicated Evensong Service of Remembrance and Hope. The event will be led by The Bishop of London. There will also be a minute’s silence at 5pm to reflect on a year of loss.
St. Paul’s Cathedral is inviting bereaved families and friends to submit tributes to its online book of remembrance for the pandemic, Remember Me, which is open to people of all faiths and backgrounds, and has the support of other faith leaders in the UK. The intention is for Remember Me site to become a physical memorial at St Paul’s Cathedral, subject to funding. The Cathedral has approved designs for a new inner porch in the North transept and this would serve as a fitting memorial for all who have died as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Each day of National Grief Awareness Week will focus on different parts of the bereaved community. As part of Men’s Grief Day on Saturday, 5 December, The Good Grief Trust’s Ambassador Luke Campbell will be talking about how he dealt with the death of his father just days before a career-defining fight. There will also be days dedicated to parents who have lost children and of course Covid-19 deaths.