Outside Derry’s Playhouse on Tuesday builders were working on Artillery Street. Inside the building young people were busy rehearsing and the intercom was steadily broadcasting announcements.
These everyday events were evidence that life carries on, whatever it throws at us. And that’s something which those who had gathered for the Cruse Beareavement project launch were all too aware of.
This year Cruse is celebrating 25 years in the Foyle area. It continues to prove a lifeline for people who are grieving the loss of a loved one in a world which moves on very quickly.
The organisation has been an unwavering support to people in the North West trying to cope with living after the death of someone close to them.
Volunteers, staff, service users and Derry’s Mayor were among the guests at the launch of the ‘Beyond Words’ project, which aims to reach out to people over 60, stroke survivors and their carers.
These groups in particular are the focus because bereavement for elderly people, and those suffering from conditions arising from stroke, can prove particularly isolating.
This is what the Beyond Words project, with thanks to £479,000 Big Lottery funding, is setting out to change.
Speaking at the launch, Derry’s Mayor, Kevin Campbell described the initiative as “vital”.
He paid tribute to dedicated Cruse volunteers here in the city.
“I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to the volunteers and the professionals and the much- needed support they offer to people who have lost a loved one.
“We are indebted to the volunteers who are at the heart and soul of Cruse and this project will further enhance their work.”
Anne Townsend, Director for Cruse NI, congratulated the organisation’s Foyle office on 25 years of care and support in the local community.
“We’ve had 25 wonderful years and thousands of people have been helped.
“Death is a part of life, it affects us all. Children and young people are affected, adults are affected. There are 14,000 deaths in Northern Ireland each year and research has shown that at least three people are impacted by each death. We are committed to doing all we can to help those people but we can only do it with the support of our volunteers.”
The newly-launched ‘Beyond Words’ project will target those affected by deaths among the elderly, which account for 85 per cent of all deaths in Northern Ireland every year.
In a unique collaboration, Cruse will work with the Stroke Association to deliver the project and work with stroke survivors who have been bereaved, many of whom are affected by aphasia and other stroke symptoms and may struggle to communicate their feelings.
The ‘Beyond Words’ project will also reach out to people who are living in sheltered accommodation.
If you, or someone you know, could benefit from the project contact Cruse locally on 02871 262941.