Bolton bereavement group make memorial quilt to help cope with grief

Mel Barham reports from the bereavement cafe in Bolton where a sewing project is helping people cope with their grief.

A group set up to offer help to those struggling with grief is producing a special memorial quilt, which is hoped will start a much-needed conversation about bereavement.

The Bereavement Cafe in Bolton is a charity that was set up in 2021, offering peer-to-peer support for those struggling with the loss of a loved one.

The group has now been given funding to make a quilt which will be displayed across the country.

The group hopes the memorial quilt will start a meaningful conversation with everyone Credit: ITV Granada

"I do hope when it is displayed it will help people have those conversations or make them think about people around them who maybe are grieving," says Jane Dixon who set up the charity.

"They may have thought, she's back at work she's probably doing ok. I want them to think, actually they're probably not OK, shall I check in on them."

Jane Dixon started the cafes in 2021 after the loss of her husband Steve, who was just 46-years-old.

Steve with his family Credit: Family photo

Steve died unexpectedly on a family holiday and Jane said she and her family found there was little help to support them.

"It was just a crazy time." Jane said. "We were desperately trying to grasp help or support but here was just nothing around, other than counselling."

"People were telling me, you need counselling, but I didn't personally feel that I needed counselling, I just needed to talk to somebody who knew what I was going through, but there was nothing like that around."

That is what prompted Jane to set up the charity.

The cafes move around different venues every week across Bolton and Wigan and offer a safe, informal place to provide peer-to-peer support for those struggling with grief.

The sewing group is an off-shoot of the cafe meetings are are open to anyone, male or female, and they're keen to encourage more people to join in.

Susan Phelan joined the group a year ago following the sudden death of her daughter Laura Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Susan Phelan joined the group about a year ago after losing her daughter Laura suddenly.

"I just turned up one particular day and it has just been a lifeline for me," she told ITV's Granada Reports.

"I can't talk to my family the same as I can talk to people here."

Sharon and her son have both been helped by the Bereavement Cafe after she lost her husband Chris.

"It has enabled me to talk about my feelings, about the grief - it is that safe space where you can cry.

"We laugh as well, we don't just sit around and be gloomy, and I can just talk to people who know what you're going through."

When all the squares are finished, they hope to display the quilt up and down the countryand encourage others to open up and talk about grief.

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