A bereavement group, based in Launceston, has marked its first anniversary and is encouraging those who may be grieving a loved one to attend its successful meet ups.

The group is run by Launceston locals, Katie Willing from Co-op Funeralcare Launceston and Okehampton and Kenzie Watson, from Co-op Funeralcare Launceston, and meets every third Wednesday of the month at 7pm at St Thomas Church Hall, in Launceston.

During meetings, attendees are invited to talk about anything they would like, not just death and bereavement, and can take part in a host of creative, therapeutic activities. Previous activities include bauble decorating for Christmas, which can be a difficult time for those grieving, or creating ‘sands of time’ jar using different colour chalks and salt – each shade representing a specific memory.

More recently, the group met for a painting session, with attendees often coming from afar, as the group is the only one of its kind within the local area.

Some of the wonderful paintings created by the Launceston bereavement group members
Some of the wonderful paintings created by the Launceston bereavement group members (Co-op Funeralcare)

Kenzie, funeral arranger at Co-op Funeralcare Launceston, said: “Most people assume our job as funeral arrangers stops as soon as the service is over – this couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Looking after families following the funeral is an incredibly important part of our role, which is why Katie and I decided to launch our bereavement group a year ago. There is nothing like it in the area, and having the church as our meeting location has really helped us connect with attendees, as it is such a significant place for many locals.”

Katie, funeral director at Co-op Funeralcare Launceston and Okehampton, added: “We’re so incredibly proud of how far we’ve come in a year, and of how many people we’ve been able to support through the bereavement group. We all started as strangers – it’s been really special to watch people open up to others, form relationships and learn how to live with their grief. We’d like to invite anyone who is struggling with the death of a loved one to join us – we promise we can help.”

To find out more about the bereavement group, or to speak with Katie or Kenzie, visit Co-op Funeralcare Launceston webpages.