Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


This donation will directly fund 100 counselling sessions for local people following their diagnosis of cancer, and 100 bereavement support sessions for families who are coming to terms with life without their loved ones.

Experiencing the death of someone important to you or being diagnosed with an advanced illness are two of the most distressing experiences we face. Bereavement is something that most of us will encounter at some time in our lives and we all react to loss in different ways. Such experiences can be devastating and can manifest in shock, anger, guilt, numbness, withdrawal or exhaustion.

The grief of experiencing a bereavement may be accompanied by strong and painful feelings and it may help to find out that what you are going through is normal. Even when death comes at the end of a long illness and it is expected, you may feel numb and in a state of shock. It may be helpful to acknowledge your feelings and expressing them can be part of the healing process.

The bereavement counselling service based at Forest Holme provides support and counselling for individuals, couples, children, young people and families before and after bereavement. The service can be used by anyone who is affected by someone who is dying, or has died from cancer (treated by the Dorset Cancer Centre) or who has been under the care of Forest Holme Hospice.

Coping with what used to be routine becomes exhausting and even the simplest task may seem daunting. The experience can shake up your beliefs, your personality, and even your sense of reality. Importantly, it can impact on physical and mental health and even result in depression.

The counselling team’s aim is to improve the quality of life for people living with cancer and life-limiting illness, or who have been bereaved, by providing emotional and psychological support to them and their families where and when they need it most. They work in accordance with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Ethical Framework.

The service is for patients, partners, carers and families who are feeling anxious and are having difficulties in coping with their experience of cancer, life-limiting illness or bereavement and may be experiencing an underlying sense of sadness and feeling overwhelmed by their feelings, having difficulty coming to terms with the changes brought about by the diagnosis, or death of a loved one, experiencing problems within their relationships or wanting the space and time to talk in confidence to someone other than their partner, family or close friends.

For each individual the team aim to ensure compassionate care and support at any time throughout their journey, recognising their individual choices, while we also provide support for isolated groups such as carers and more so now for those caring for people with dementia. To achieve this they work collaboratively with other health and social care professionals to ensure responsive and seamless care.

One person, who has first-hand experience of the extended care Forest Holme offers to family and loved-ones, is 24-year-old Sammy-Jo Stanley. She said, “Forest Holme is an incredible hospice, with such caring and kind people who are understanding and supportive when you are going through such a difficult time. Forest Holme for me was a place I first turned to when my Nan passed away from cancer in October 2009. At 15 I really needed guidance on how to deal with the grief and the hospice counselling team pulled me through, helping me to come to terms with the grief process. Also, their outstanding care when my mum was diagnosed with cancer was incredible and, once again, their counselling service provided both support to my family and myself. This hospice touches many people’s lives at such a devastating time in life and their support and kindness always shines through.”

Forest Holme Hospice

Moment of Pride

Forest Holme Hospice’s aim is to support people in the community through the most difficult time of their lives in any way it can. Importantly, it supports more than just the patient; offering extended services to help the whole family and reduce the longer-term impact associated with bereavement.

Location: 5 Seldown Road, Poole, UK