Left to right: Suzanne Nitikman (Sheffield Mind), Jan Browse (Sheffield Mind), Pam Daniel (Terminus)
This project aims to help and have an impact on people within the community who are then empowered to help others in the community.
The Terminus Initiative, a well-established and well known charity in Lowedges offers support and a community hub through the Terminus Café & Shop. Sheffield Mind received funding to focus on bereavement in the Lowedges area and approached Terminus to work together on this project.
These two organisations working closely together has brought about a busy, incredibly well received service which has positive impacts within the community.
Age Better in Sheffield supports this project, and it is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, and led by South Yorkshire Housing Association. Age Better in Sheffield is a partnership of individuals and organisations who work together in Sheffield to tackle isolation and loneliness. Learn more about other projects led by Age Better in Sheffield here.
Typically in helping people through the bereavement process finding and getting in contact with the people who need help can be very difficult as people can become isolated. Another challenge usually faced is around inappropriate referring for new projects as people are unclear on the aims or the support offered. Working with a charity known within the community helped to change this.
The project started quickly and soon was busy because Terminus was trusted and known within the community. People already came to the Terminus Café and the various groups that The Terminus runs within the community so trusted that they could come to Terminus for support. The Terminus knew of different groups in the area, ran its own groups, and had strong relationships with professional forums such as GPs. Existing relationships allowed referrals to be discussions rather than forms and led to creative ideas such as advising people working in funeral parlours, shops and post offices within the community of the service so they could pass this on and let others know. As the team did not need to begin new relationships or spend as much time looking for clients they were able to focus on quality and tailoring the service.
Person Centred & Community Working
The team offers one to one support for people who have suffered bereavement. The support offered is based on the wants of the person and can be emotional, practical or social. This might include linking to existing groups in the area or starting own groups based on the client’s interests. The team having the freedom to use their imagination and start groups relevant to the area helped to ensure the service is tailored to the area. Being able to invest time with people early on has positive effects on their health and wellbeing. Part of the initial success of gaining this funding was that the project was entirely community focussed. But being based within the community in the Terminus café and space also meant people knew where the support was, knew they could come talk to members of the team there and allowed the team to attend the local groups which continued to build relationships. The aim of this project is that the supported, newly empowered individuals will go on to share their skills and confidence with others in the community. This helps to build a strong and resilient community.
Impacts seen so far
The work the team is doing has seen an improvement in the wellbeing of their clients with people feeling like they have a purpose again. The staff wellbeing is helped as they feel supported by both organisations and can see the benefits of the work they do.
The effects within the community are beginning to be seen with members of the community now signposting people to the service and people who never spoke to each other in the street now doing so. Being based within the Terminus makes the team easily contactable by local referrers which has allowed them to be on the spot to support either prior to, or immediately following a bereavement, which really maximises how much support we can offer at the time it is most needed.
“Our main achievements have been having a busy, incredibly well received service. Getting the client list straight away and the great job satisfaction we get being proud of what we’re doing”
“(The Ripple Effect) . . . have helped me get out to meet new friends, after I lost my closest friend and neighbour. The beauty of it is that the person who visits me at home knows what activities are on my doorstep as they work here all the time, so travel isn’t a problem”
“I don’t feel bad about calling the Ripple Effect when I need some support as I know they are so nearby as they are based at the Terminus. It is reassuring to know that help is nearby”
Lessons Learnt & Next Steps
The success of this project is largely down to working with a charity that was well established in the community. This allowed the team to have a list of clients quickly and to form relationships with other organisations and professionals. Good relationships with GPs meant referrals were done with a conversation where the needs and situation of the person could be understood.
Going forward the team aims to build a small group of volunteers from the people they have worked with by providing tools and training to empower them to continue running the groups and the service once the funding has stopped making the service community ran.
The team with Sheffield Mind will also develop an online toolkit for people to use around bereavement to be available on the Sheffield Mind Website.