LOCAL charity, Dorothy House Hospice Care, has been awarded a £13,600 grant to help fund two new community bereavement support groups in Corsham and Shepton Mallet.

Named Friends in Grief or (FIG), the grant is funded by Wiltshire Freemasons through Masonic Charitable Foundation and managed by Hospice UK, the national charity for hospice and palliative care.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation supports hospices nationwide and is funding 15 hospice initiatives to support bereaved families during 2019-20.

Des Morgan, Provincial Communication Officer at the Masonic Charitable Foundation said: “Wiltshire Freemason’s Lodges are regular supporters of Dorothy House and members of Moonraker Lodge presented the Hospice with a donation recently.

"We are delighted that such a well deserving cause as Dorothy House has been chosen to receive this significant grant. We wish the Hospice every success for the future of their community bereavement support groups.”

Linda Owens, Bereavement Service Co-ordinator at Dorothy House, said: “Friends in Grief groups are facilitated by trained, local volunteers and supported by Dorothy House.

"In a safe, supportive and informal setting, the groups welcome anyone who has been bereaved who would like to meet others experiencing similar thoughts and feelings around their grief.

"FIG not only offers a message of hope and reassurance but also recognises, within the uniqueness of grief, a commonality of experience.”

The Masons grant funding will fund the recruiting, training and supervising of new FIG volunteers. It will also supporting the operational and staff costs involved in setting up both groups.

Dorothy House’s Friends in Grief bereavement support initiative is based on the Bereavement Help Point Model developed by St Giles Hospice in Lichfield.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation were particularly impressed with Dorothy House’s explanation behind the Friends in Grief acronym ‘FIG’, namely the synchronicity between what it is hoped the groups will embody for bereaved people and the properties inherent in the fig tree.

As well as the uniqueness of grief being mirrored in over 750 species, this tree of life is also called a survivor tree and regarded as adaptable, resilient and sustaining.

According to Hospice UK a total of 49,000 people in this country received bereavement support from hospices in 2017-18.

A pilot Friends in Grief group was set up by Dorothy House in Malmesbury in July 2018. It is now well established as a weekly event at the Riverside Community Centre in Malmesbury and runs between 2pm-4pm every Tuesday.

Both Corsham and Shepton Mallet Friends in Grief groups will operate weekly and are free to anyone who has been bereaved.

People can drop in to Corsham FIG group on Thursdays between 1.30pm-3.30pm at the MOD Community Centre, Portal Ave, Rudloe.

From June 19, the Shepton Mallet FIG group is open every Wednesday from 10am-12 noon at The Brasserie & Café Bar, High St, Shepton Mallet.To learn more about Dorothy House’s Friends in Grief bereavement support groups or if you’d like to be a FIG group volunteer please visit www.dorothyhouse.org.uk and search for Friends in Grief.