Co-op has been tackling loneliness in communities across the UK since 2015, when its colleagues and members voted for it to champion the issue with the British Red Cross. Since then it has raised money to fund new services to connect thousands back to their communities; funded new research showing loneliness affects all ages; and looked at how it can respond as a business to support its members and customers. Co-op Bereavement Groups are social groups, where anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one and experienced loneliness as a result can come together, form new friendships and relationships.
There have even been five weddings as a result, which is a completely unexpected outcome. There are approximately 90 Co-op Funeralcare bereavement groups across the UK. One of Co-op’s long-established bereavement groups is held in Co-op’s funeral home in Plymstock and is run by a local colleague, Sophie, who is helping to make a huge difference to people’s lives. Beryl attends the group in Plymstock.
“We were all in the same boat. We all comforted each other. I do find it helps and I’ve made some good friends. We’ve done holidays together, we just get on so well.” Jeanette also attends the group. She says: “From the day I walked in everyone made me feel welcome, they are brilliant, if you need them, they’re there.”