Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Steven Wylie, joined a conference of 150 health professionals, volunteers and carers in Portsmouth who came together to share knowledge and strengthen networks to support those suffering from loss and bereavement.
Organised by The Bereavement Centre and Solent NHS, and supported by The Southern Co-operative Funeralcare, this is the third successive year for the conference (30 Oct), held this year at Portsmouth Academy for Girls. The Mayor met exhibitors representing local bereavement and loss support organisations prior to opening the conference.
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Wylie, said: “With the 100 anniversary since the start of WWI and Remembrance Day coming up, the focus is very much on commemorating loss and paying our respects. However, bereavement is still quite a taboo subject; being a typical man, I’m guilty of not talking about it easily myself. It is therefore encouraging to see so many people here at this conference working together to offer support, build networks and provide information so that no-one is alone in their grief.”
Workshops were introduced into this year’s conference, led by local organisations including Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Services, Solent NHS Adult Learning and Disability Team, Survivors of Bereavement through Suicide, The Bereavement Centre, Solent NHS Multi Cultural Loss and Community Development and the Rowans Hospice. Speakers from the Rowan’s Hospice, The Southern Co-operative Funeralcare and Parish of St Mary’s in Southsea also gave presentations.
Ingrid McAllister, Manager of the Bereavement Centre enthused: “What an amazing day; it was wonderful to listen to all our speakers and interact with each other. With The Southern Co-operative’s support, we held this as a not for profit conference to enable as many health professionals and volunteers to attend as possible. Our network of support for those in Portsmouth who are experiencing loss is stronger as a result.” Proceeds from the conference, totalling £400, were presented to Cllr Wylie for his Mayor’s Charity appeal.