Finding Magic and supporting each other through loss

An event in Barrow in October will bring together the many local organisations that can provide support for those suicide bereaved. It will also highlight to those bereaved, or wanting to help others, the wealth of support available in and around Barrow. 

The event, Supporting Each Other Through Loss, is at The Forum in Barrow on Saturday 15th October from 9.30am and is hosted by Suicide Bereavement Support (SBS) Cumbria. It is the first event of its kind in the town and is being organised by a local woman, Emily Griffiths, herself suicide bereaved, who is also a volunteer and local facilitator with SBS. Funding for the event has come from The Hadfield Trust as well as local donors who prefer to remain anonymous, and there has also been a huge amount of publicity support from local businesses, the NHS, community organisations, and individuals.

“When my partner died, I had no idea that there was support available from organisations that understand the bereavement, and the impact it had not only on myself but my children,” says Emily. “This support is not only there for the short term, but for all the years that follow. Putting this event together, I’ve still been discovering what the incredibly strong voluntary sector here has to offer, as well as the statutory services. When someone experiences a complex bereavement, everyone really want to ‘do the right thing’ but it can be difficult to know what that is, or the full range of support being offered locally. By bringing everyone together in one place, I think we can change that and make a big difference for Barrow.”

Over 20 organisations are taking part in the event, including Child Bereavement UK, Samaritans, The Farming Community Network, Mind in Furness, Winston’s Wish, the Bluebell Foundation and the Coroners’ Courts Support Service as well as Every Life Matters and Health Watch. 

Emily continues: “The idea for this event began with my inviting a woman called Bev Bishop to Barrow. Bev lost her son to suicide and has since used her skills to create a performance ‘Finding Magic’. It seems a strange thing to do but Finding Magic is really inspiring, and Bev uses it to create an environment where people can relax a little and talk about grief, bereavement, and suicide – all topics that we normally avoid’’.

“I then contacted Andy Airey, one of the #3DadsWalking, who lost his daughter, Sophie, to suicide. Not only is he keen to support this event, but the 3Dads will be finishing their second fundraising walk on October 10th and Andy will be able to tell us about that experience! It is also indicative of the importance of the event that our MP Simon Fell, responded immediately to my request to attend, and thank those participating.”

“Supporting Each Other Through Loss is a day in two halves. In the morning, I hope that the many stalls and presentations will raise awareness across Barrow of the support that’s available following bereavement. The morning will be opened by Andy, include a presentation by Bev and will be closed at about 12.30pm by Simon Fell MP. In the afternoon, Bev will lead a workshop session, especially for those of us who have been bereaved by suicide, and workshop participants are invited to join us for a light lunch beforehand.”

Both halves of the event are free but ticketed and places can be booked on The Forum’s website.

“We’re keen to stress that the event is free and the morning is open to anyone who is interested in learning about the support available for those who are bereaved,” says Emily. “The afternoon, which begins with lunch, is for anyone who has lost someone – a family member, a friend, neighbour, or a colleague – to suicide. Both halves of the day are for over 18s only, but the stalls and information are very relevant to those offering support to parents, carers, children and young adults. If people have any worries or questions about booking a ticket, they can contact me via or phone or text me on 07831 394653 to find out more.”

“Regrettably, suicide is a particularly significant issue in Barrow and the surrounding area,” says Emily, “and it is estimated that every loss to suicide can affect over 130 other people. So, across Furness, we know that many, many lives have been affected by what is often a life-changing and isolating event. Supporting Each Other Through Loss – and the publicity around it – aims to show people that, although we have big challenges, Barrow is a very supportive community and there is help out there if you know where to look.”

If someone close to you has taken their life and you would like to make contact with SBS members, email and SBS Cumbria will get back to you.

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