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Drop in Bereavement Centre

“I believe we are saving lives”

Suddenly, Marieʼs hands begin to shake. The tears fill her eyes. Matilda gets up from her chair, walks over to Marie, and puts an arm around her shoulder. “Youʼll be all right with us,” she says. “Weʼre all in the same boat."

The ‘boat’ these two elderly Londoners are in is the crippling grief that can follow the death of a loved one. Marie had been talking about her husband, Ernie. He died on September 5, 2015, after nine weeks in St Joseph’s, a local hospice. Ernie had bowel cancer.

“I talk to him every morning,” Marie continues eventually. “I get out of bed and I kiss his urn.” For the two months since Ernie died, bed has been the sofa downstairs. She can no longer sleep in the bed they used to share together.

The tears just now were caused by anger. Marie feels that Ernie’s doctor missed the signs of cancer, that four months of maybe life-saving treatment were lost. “Sometimes I feel I could kill him,” she says of the doctor. “I could go round there and smash his windows.

Matilda reassures Marie that it’s ok to feel angry. She talks about her own husband, who dropped dead in the street. Pauline, sitting across from them both, has been there too. Her husband died in an operating theatre, during surgery that was meant to be straightforward. Bill lost his wife. Leon is grieving for his mum. Everyone in the room has felt the same pain.

It was to help grieving people like the ones chatting over tea and cake this morning that Sandra Smith and her friend Olive Brade opened The Bereavement Drop in Centre in Plaistow, in 2011.

The Bereavement Drop In Centre has been funded by The London Community Foundation.

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More news and stories

Geoff first came into contact with the Drop in Bereavement Centre in 2013 after losing two immediate family members to lung cancer within one month. Click here to read his experience of dealing with personal loss.

Baobab received their first Give London grant in early August. Click here to find out the impact of the funding.

In early August, Mazi Mas was awarded their first Give London grant. Click here to learn more.

Belong was awarded their first Give London grant in early August. Find out what the funding has gone towards here.

The Drop in Bereavement Centre were awarded their first Give London grant in early August. Click here to find out the impact this grant has made.

North London Cares and South London Cares were awarded their first Give London grants in early August. Click here to read about the impact these grants have made.

London Football Journeys was awarded their first grant in early August. Click here to find out what this funding has gone towards.

The London Community Foundation and Give London’s founding donor, residential-led developer Mount Anvil, are delighted to announce that the first grants of the initiative have been awarded. 

We are thrilled to have Mount Anvil, the leading Central London specialist residential-led developer, as our founding donor whose support has been crucial in getting Give London off the ground. Click here to read an interview with their Chief Executive, Killian Hurley. 

One charity is helping young people who’ve survived a perilous journey and arrived in London on their own, with no accompanying adult. Click here to read their story.

The centre has helped over 500 grieving people so far. Some are referred by their local doctor and others just drop in while passing. They help people cope with the problems that can follow loss – the anxiety, stress, sleep deprivation, anger, and depression. And they find the comfort of spending time with people who know what crippling grief feels like. To read their story click here.

The London Community Foundation is proud to announce the launch of its new fundraising initiative ‘GIVE LONDON’. This new fund will sit alongside its existing and well-established Donor Advised Funds and Local Area Funds. To read more click here.

The unique part of London Football Journeys is not the football, but the way the project uses video, explains Alex Baine, who founded the project in 2012, after two years working with a Mumbai project that used football to help slum kids learn life skills and find a way into education. To read the full story click here.

Belong pilot a new way of equipping young men to find a path out of gang culture and to live differently when they are released back into society. To read their full story click here.

They work with 1,600 elderly people, whom they respectfully call “neighbours”, and about the same number of young volunteers. North & South London Cares is a community network of young professionals and older neighbours hanging out with one another in a rapidly changing city. Click here to view the full story.

Mazi Mas is a social enterprise that helps women from migrant and refugee communities to develop their cooking skills and learn how to set up their own businesses. It started as a pop-up venture in 2012. Since March 2015, it has been based in the Ovalhouse theatre, just round the corner from Oval tube station. To read their story click here.

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