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Grief Journey Essex wins award

Three independent family funeral directors who continue their support to bereaved families after the funeral have won the Community Category of the Essex Business Excellence Awards 2012.

Each had created their own individual bereavement support programmes over a period of years but, recognising that they were all working toward the same end, Bennetts Funeral Directors, T Cribb & Sons and Paul J King Funeral Directors combined resources to create the Grief Journey Essex.

Bereavement expert Dr Bill Webster provided facilitator training for the trio of companies to become authorised providers of his Grief Journey bereavement support system.

“An alliance of three independent funeral directors is unique, particularly in the area of bereavement support,” said Jane Bennett, managing director of Bennetts. “However, as our businesses have the same ethos, we wanted to work together to help our families long after the funeral has taken place.”

Ann Honey from T Cribb & Sons said: “Independently from each other we were aware that there was a lack of support for the bereaved in Essex and had begun to look for ways to fill this gap. We all were working with Dr Bill Webster to provide bereavement support via his Now What booklet and seminars.

“The award is a fairytale conclusion to an idea from Phil Taylor of T Cribb & Sons, Pitsea – now known as ‘the Fairy Godfather’, who suggested we combine our efforts to better achieve our. It became obvious we would achieve much more by working together.”

Margaret Bone of Paul J King Funeral Directors said the award had “recognised and validated our hard work in this area”.

“We were up against a huge number of entrants but the judges were impressed with our passion and commitment and felt that our wide provision of services and the unique way in which we are working together were second to none.”

Grief Journey Essex provides bereavement support by offering courses, training seminars, and bereavement support groups and by providing Dr Webster’s Now What? booklets to local hospitals. It also offers social activity options for group members to relax and an annual non-denominational memorial service for people to light a candle in memory of their loved one.

Three companies uniting to work together means people over a wider area have access to the programmes, including offering support to extended family and friends who do not live in the same area as the deceased. It also means costs can be shared, as well as ideas and contacts, and people can be directed to specialist resources.

PHOTO (from left): Margaret, Ann, Lou Hunt, Graham Cribb, Jane, Paul, Jane Botright and representatives of award sponsors Essex & Suffolk Water

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