Someone to listen

Did you know that Rowcroft’s bereavement support team is made up of volunteers? These caring and dedicated souls support people who have lost a loved one, and understand that giving ‘good listening’ is one of the best ways to help. Pam Rogers was part of our recent intake of volunteers and has now started to visit her own clients.

Joining the Rowcroft team

“My current paid work with the prison service is all about listening and sign-posting and I have supported families and friends of those who have died in custody,” says Pam. “I decided to apply to join Rowcroft’s bereavement support team to bring my skills and life experience to a very different environment, and see where this might take me.

“I have really enjoyed joining this team and the new opportunities it already offers, including making new connections with people from a wider range of backgrounds. There’s a common ground of caring, empathy, kindness and love which is not always there in my day job!”

Preparing for the role

“The application and selection process is rigorous and you will be well supported to find out if this role is a good fit for you. I applied and was invited to join the comprehensive training programme that runs for one day a week for five weeks. It covered a wide range of topics and prepared me and the other new volunteers to take on our first clients.

“For example, we spoke about spirituality and what that can mean to different people and that’s been very interesting, as well as how to help people find their own sources of comfort and support – this is an important part of our role.

“It’s also important to be as completely impartial and accepting of others as possible, and be able to put aside my own beliefs and attitudes in order to fully hear what someone is saying.”

Bereavement support

“Our team offers flexible support at our Inpatient Unit, at client’s homes or by phone/screen and each client usually has up to about ten hour-long visits.

“We are briefed before we meet a new client and then it’s over to us! After each visit we file a short report, and we also have monthly group supervision and immediate access to one-to-one support as needed.

“I’m also learning to let clients go at their own pace – some may take a long time to open up and some may never even get to that point. I’m also aware that it’s sometimes challenging to let go of a connection when the support period ends, and I need to be prepared for this, as well as help the client prepare.”

Why volunteer with the bereavement support team?

“Clearly this role is not for everyone – but if you are a good listener, open minded and accepting and are comfortable around grief, distress and other strong feelings, then please contact the team and have a conversation. The next training begins in September.

“I get enormous satisfaction from helping others in this way, it feels like a real privilege. Plus no two clients are alike! I am already learning more about myself and others, and am excited to see how my volunteering unfolds from here.”

If you would like further information please contact Dawn at


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