about us

about St Albans and District Bereavement Network

Bereavement Matters

Bereavement Matters - the St Albans & District Bereavement Network offer practical and emotional support to anyone living in the St Albans District
regardless of race, creed or culture.
Established in 2002, our network of volunteers offer support,
visiting and counselling to those in need.
From September 2015 we will be changing and improving the services we offer and some support will be fee-based.


Our Vision & Mission

Bereavement Matters provides a service to help and support adults, children, young people and their families, in the St Albans District, from any culture who have experienced bereavement or loss which is impacting on their health, well-being or ability to function in their daily life.


Each year we:

> answer more than 1,500 calls to our Helpline
> provide in excess of 5,000 hours of counselling support to adults, families, young    people and children
> advise many professionals , organisations and carers of grieving adults,
   young people and children

and the number of people we help continues to grow


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how we work

As a charity we rely on the generosity and support of our volunteers, supporters and donors in order to be able to continue our work with adults, children, young people and their families. We have been fortunate to obtain funding from various statutory sources, and have benefitted from the generosity of local organisations and the kindness of individuals raising money from everything from the London Marathon to Garden Parties, Concerts and Carol Singing to Beauty Nights.


Our clinical and administration services are run from small rented premises in St Albans. The Network has a team of only 4 part-time paid staff, plus volunteers comprising a telephone helpline team, visitors and counsellors. Our service works to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) professional guidelines and good practice standards. BACP is the largest professional body representing counselling and psychotherapy in the UK. We also offer carefully designed training schemes and have supervisory structures in place to encourage, develop and maintain a highly motivated and skilful team of over 100 volunteers.


A dedicated team of Trustees drawn from medical, educational, commercial and financial backgrounds leads and guides the Network helping to ensure that the Network continues to be well run, solvent and delivers a professional standard of care to everyone that it supports. Our Trustees have strong local connections and an active interest in helping to promote the organisation and improve our fundraising capability. They also help to develop our links with local businesses, other charities, social or welfare groups and local government organisations.


Our Patrons also share a passion for the work that we do and are strong advocates of us reaching out to the local community to provide help and support where and when it is needed.


In order to continue supporting local people and to ensure that we can continue to offer services that are accessible and to our service users, we are dependent on charitable grants and donations. To find out more about helping us, please visit our Donations & Giving page.


We is independent of other charitable organisations. However, by working in partnership with community services, local and other charitable groups we aim to help as many people as possible, supporting individuals through bereavement.

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our trustees & patrons



Chair ~ The Rt Revd John Gladwin
Vice Chair ~ Sandy Walkington

Vice Chair ~ Sue Claydon

Treasurer ~ David Langford

Jason Downing
John Gardner

Dr Neil Margerison
Kate Ray
David Wall

Dr Mary Groves Rowe MBE
County Councillor Aislinn Lee
The Reverend Colin Rowe


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our work with the local community

We've held conferences, organised an open day for bereaved children and their families at Butterfly World, established an annual Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving now attended by more than 1,000 people, and our ambitions continue to grow. We aim to continue to create strong links throughout the local community. We are passionate about reaching out to support communities from every culture, age and gender, in an effort to help anyone we can who is dealing with bereavement.


Over the last year we have been researching how we can better connect with the local community and support them in ways that they have told us would be most useful for them. This has led to the launch of our new Buddy Service in 2013, aimed at helping the over 55 age group broaden their social horizons and build new friendships following the loss of a loved one.


We also work in partnership with many local primary and secondary schools to help support children and young people who are trying to come to terms with the loss of a family member or special person in their lives. We are currently exploring ways in which we can continue to support our local schools once the statutory funding ceases in September 2013.


Strengthening our links with local GP surgeries is another way in which we are looking to increase awareness of the support and services available to the local community. Doctors play a key role in signposting those in need of bereavement support to our organisation.


We have no religious affiliation but does work in partnership with various faith groups established in the local area. Our fundamental aspiration is to provide support to the vulnerable, elderly, disabled and those in need of bereavement support from the diverse mix of cultural and ethnic groups in the St Albans District. We are always keen to expand our network and links with groups so please do visit our Contact Us page to get in touch.

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from the chair


The distress and anguish caused by the loss of loved ones and friends is something we all experience.  At such times we need help and support.  This organistaion was set up 12 years ago to ensure that the people of St Albans and District were able to access what they needed at such painful times in our lives. We exist for all the people of these communities – irrespective of creed, culture, age or gender.

Loss can hit us suddenly and catch us totally unprepared.  It happens to children and young people when, sadly, parents and family members and friends die and are taken away never to return. These experiences are no respecters of adult life at all its stages.  We know about loss and the grief it brings with it.

This organistaion exists to provide the help needed.  Our work depends on volunteers who are trained and supported in the task.  If you would like to consider helping in this way why not visit our webpage Volunteers and opportunities page. We would be delighted to hear from you.

Through our varied programme we seek to help all who are supporting people in their communities going through such demanding times in their lives.

Each year, in November, in St Albans Cathedral, we hold an Annual Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving.  It is a most moving occasion.  The church is filled with people of all ages and from every background who come to remember.

Of course, a local charity such as ours needs financial support to carry out its mandate in the community.  We are grateful to the trusts, individuals and public bodies that give us grants to keep this work alive.  Raising the funds is a persistent task!  So if you can help please visit our Donation and Giving page.

We seek to help people travel a difficult path at a crucial moment in their lives. In so doing the health and well-being of many is sustained and our community life refreshed.

We value your support and will do our best to continue meeting the challenges facing people today in the work we do.

Yours sincerely

The Right Reverend John Gladwin
Chairman – St Albans Bereavement Network

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a short history

Founded in July 2002, the St Albans and District Bereavement Network was the vision of founding Chairman Rev Colin Rowe and Vice-Chairwoman Dr Mary Groves. The St Albans & District Bereavement Network was created in response to a growing concern voiced by the local community of St Albans, that individuals dealing with grief had little or no form of charitable support or guidance. With the energy of our founding members The St Albans & District Bereavement Network was launched to provide such support for individuals and communities facing bereavement.


Our first few years saw the introduction of our Helpline and Home Visiting Service from an office at Marlborough Road Methodist Church. Soon after, we began offering Counselling and Children Groups, services that have continued to support people to this day.


By 2007 the number of people we had supported reached 1,000. New offices were found at Trinity United Reform Church to accommodate the expanding Network and we launched our website and newsletter to reach out to the wider community.


In our first ten years we have responded to needs as they have become apparent, increasing our range of services which now include counselling, home visits, support for children, young people and their families, and our telephone helpline. We have continued to develop, and have grown into a thriving organisation able to offer support to anyone dealing with bereavement.


We are optimistic about the future of the Network and with a strong sense of purpose and the support of our dedicated team we will rise to the challenges that will undoubtedly face us over the next 10 years.

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the first 10 years

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