CVS Inverclyde leads the way in bereavement support for its team

CVS Inverclyde is the first employer organisation in Scotland to be awarded the Bereavement Charter mark.

The Bereavement Charter for Scotland is a set of statements which describe how people and communities who are bereaved in Scotland can be supported. The Charter, created based on a human rights approach, is for everyone in Scotland, and it aims to make a difference to the experience of people who are facing death, dying and bereavement in their community.

The Charter was developed by a coalition of organisations and individuals from across Scotland’s third and public sectors.

In order to gain the Charter mark, CVS Inverclyde has adopted a range of new policies and measures to offer bereavement support to our employees after a period of consulting and workshopping with our team. These include:

  • Creating a bereavement space and resource pack, including advice, support and further links to online tools such as meditation videos.
  • Adopting a bereavement policy, including a line manager guide, for the organisation outlining what the organisation can do to support team members experiencing bereavement.
  • Our staff took part in a Bereavement Training day (pictured below) with Child Bereavement UK. We looked at different theories of bereavement which helped to inform our understanding and practice of supporting people. We also had an open discussion about how grief, and our attitudes to grief, have changed over time.
  • We are involved in the No One Grieves Alone Festival.

The project is led by the programme lead for Inverclyde Cares, Alison Bunce.

Alison said: “after what we have experienced over the past two years, understanding bereavement and supporting people who are bereaved has never been so important.

“Although every person will likely experience bereavement at some point in their life, death and grief is an uncomfortable topic for most of us and often our approach is to avoid talking about it. Supporting someone who is bereaved can be awkward and uncomfortable, especially in a work setting. Sometimes we have good intentions but we might not be creating a supportive environment for someone who is bereaved.

“Unfortunately, there isn’t an approach to bereavement in workplaces that is consistent, empathetic and offers people the space and time they need at this difficult period.

“The Bereavement Charter Mark seeks to change this.

“Gaining the Bereavement Charter mark is more than a single policy or procedure; it is a journey. An organisation and its team look closely at bereavement, what it can look like and how it can affect people. They also scrutinise what support is already available in the organisation and how this can be improved, and then what resources or measures can be put in place to support someone experiencing bereavement.

“I’m pleased to have received such positive feedback from the CVS Inverclyde team and I’m glad the journey to gain the Charter mark has been worthwhile and thought provoking for the team.

“I’m looking forward to working with organisations across Inverclyde to help them achieve the Charter mark and help create an Inverclyde that is even more caring and compassionate.”

CVS Inverclyde CEO, Charlene Elliott, said: “This is a really important moment for CVS Inverclyde and the wider third sector. We’re so proud to be the first employee organisation in Scotland to receive the Bereavement Charter mark and I’m sure we will be the first of many organisations to receive this both in Inverclyde and around Scotland.

“The processes that we have put in place will provide vital support to team members during the most challenging of times and the importance and impact of this can’t be underestimated.

“Thank you to Alison for leading us to this milestone and for all CVS Inverclyde staff for embracing the process and helping us achieve the charter mark.”

The bereavement project is one part of the Inverclyde Cares initiative: a strategic network of organisations from the third, public and private sectors underpinned by values of kindness, compassion and equality, seeking to create a compassionate Inverclyde where we look after each other.

View CVS Inverclyde’s Bereavement Charter below.

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