Archive March 2021

Resources and helplines

Never Too Late Mate

Facebook support group started by a local resident who has been touched by suicide:


Quinn’s Retreat

A charity offering a retreat for those bereaved by suicide.

Survivors of Bereavement By Suicide
A national charity who run a helpline and local groups
Supporting those bereaved by suicide.


INQUEST is the only charity providing expertise on state related deaths and their investigation to bereaved people, lawyers, advice and support agencies, the media and parliamentarians.


The Compassionate Friends (TCF) is a charitable organisation of bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents dedicated to the support and care of other similarly bereaved family members who have suffered the death of a child or children of any age and from any cause


The Support After Suicide Partnership brings together suicide bereavement organisations and people with lived experience, to give practical and emotional support for anyone bereaved by suicide.


LGBT Foundation
A national charity delivering advice, support and information services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) communities.


Queer Futures
Queer Futures is a two year study that is designed to understand the experiences and perspectives of young (16-25 years old) LGBTQ people in order to help reduce their risk of self-harm and suicide.


CALM – Campaign against Living Miserably
Area served: National
Telephone: 0800585858
Services: Support and campaigning organisation against male suicide.


Depression UK
Area served: National
Services: A national self-help charity promoting mutual support between individuals affected by depression, through pen and phone friend schemes, Internet Chat, and newsletters.


Grief Encounter
Area served: National
Telephone: 0808 802 0111(Helpline)

Services: If you are a child, teenager or adult who has experienced the death of a loved one or are a caregiver who needs advice on how to support young people following the death of a parent or sibling you can call, email or instant chat with trained professionals at grieftalk, 5 days a week, 9am – 9pm (excluding bank holidays). Please note this is a free Helpline. Email address for the helpline is and there is a webchat option on their website too.


Hope Again – Young People Living After Loss (up to age 18) part of CRUSE
Area served: National
Telephone: 0808 808 1677
Website: email:
Services: Bereavement support for young people.


Let’s Talk about Loss
Area served: National

A safe online space for young people 16 – 30 who have lost a loved one to share and talk through the taboos and address the reality of losing someone close when you are young.


Support after Suicide Partnership (SASP)
Area served: National

Services: A network of organisations offering a whole range of practical and emotional support and signposting for anyone who has been affected by the loss of someone who has died by suicide.


The Bodie Hodges Foundation Memory Bags
Area served: National

A charity (Nick and Donna Hodges are bereaved parents who have lost their son, Bodie and have a surviving daughter) providing memory bags containing grief resources, free of charge to families to support sibling grief.

There is a memory bag for bereaved siblings aged 12 and under and one for those aged 13 and over. The bags aim to explain how we grieve and to support an understanding of how we might feel when someone dies. Encourage children and young people to share their thoughts, feelings and worries.
Books to encourage understanding of grief.
A treasure chest to store those precious memories.
Art resources to encourage creativity.

Please contact Donna: if you would like to know more or to be sent a memory bag for a bereaved sibling.


The Good Grief Trust
Area served: National

A charity offering help and hope in one online website. It is run by the bereaved for the bereaved. They try to guide you in the right direction for the support you need when you have been bereaved. This is offered through practical help and tips, support organisations and things to consider when you are bereaved. A charity offering help and hope in one online website. It is run by the bereaved for the bereaved. They try to guide you in the right direction for the support you need when you have been bereaved. This is offered through practical help and tips, support organisations and things to consider when you are bereaved.

The Good Grief Trust ( is also running a virtual café on Zoom every Wednesday evening for anyone from the LGBTQ+ community who is bereaved. Although most of the attendees are there because of the loss of a same-sex partner, husband or wife, the meet ups also include any same sex couple/gay individual who has lost a child too.
To find out more about these virtual cafes for those bereaved people from this community, parents can contact Rachael at

The Good Grief Trust also offer a sudden bereavement helpline Mon – Fri 10 am – 4pm on 0800 2600 400. This is for anyone seeking support following the loss of someone suddenly or too soon, including loss to Covid-19.


WAY Foundation (Widowed and Young)
Area served: National
Services: Peer to peer support for men and women aged 50 or under when their partner died.

Author: jade bolton
Categories: News

An Everyday Tale of Conservation Folk

It all began with a WhatsApp picture asking if we could “ use these”?

They were collected the same day with a use for them to be found later! Our philosophy is never turn down anything that is free and clean. Further discussion came up with the idea of making them into a cold frame for use at Colchester Allotment.

But first convert them into “components” and check they go together.

They did and so we transported the bits “IKEA style” to the site. As you may be aware, our group thrives on team projects and so we gave the kit to Dan,Glen,Simon and Shane to build.

Dan led the group but it involved teaching some new skills to the less experienced guys first :- namely drilling pilot holes for screws and using a cordless screwdriver. Simon had been taught recently and so he taught Shane thereby continuing our self perpetuating education programme. This exercise is built on the “Five Ways” and encourages Connect, Learn, Give and Be Active in one activity.

Simon was particularly appreciative for this opportunity and sent the attached message to his Service Coordinators to tell them what he felt. 

As the assembly continued, the original idea was “ tweaked”  and it was suggested that it be used as a free standing growing frame. This involved building a floor which we made from pallet wood. Glen harvested the material from the pallet, cut to appropriate lengths and Simon and Shane did the assembly under the watchful eye of “Foreman Dan”.

The next part was to make the legs which were again sourced from pallet parts and duly attached to the frame. The whole construction was then completed and is now an integral part of our decking area. First plants in are our broccoli, chard and aubergine seedlings so let’s wait and see what happens.

Well Done Team and Welcome back Stu!!

Author: jade bolton
Categories: News

A poem by William Wordsworth

One of our service users has sent over their favourite poem by William Wordsworth.


I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.


Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.


The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:


For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

Author: jade bolton
Categories: News

World Poetry Day – 21st March

Happy World Poetry Day! To celebrate poetry day we have a few poems to share with you which our service users have written. Below is a poem by Claire on isolation and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hanging around with the wrong people

Because I felt lonely and isolated.

Being used and abused

Because I felt lonely and isolated.

2020 comes and a pandemic arises

People start feeling lonely and isolated.

Feeling lonely and isolated is NOT a NEW feeling

Boredom, anxiety with feeling isolated and having a mental illness is where I went wrong.

Using self destructive behaviours to cope

While I carried these out for half my life

I also suffered mentally and was physically, mentally and financially abused to cure my isolation which broke me.

A pandemic has people trapped in their homes

Where I have spent most of my life trapped, lonely and isolated.

I have had urges to self destruct as the memories of being trapped come back.

I was too weird to be friends with and never established friendships with caused me to feel lonely and isolated

Using self destructive behaviours was my way to occupy myself and get me through each day.

Now I’m in the middle of a pandemic and do feel lonely and isolated BUT I’m occupying myself with positive behaviours and talking to the professionals about my frustrations and getting through each day without self destructing.

Having OCD and following routines where I undertake certain tasks at certain times keeps me occupied throughout this pandemic so grateful to have OCD.

Loneliness and isolation will continue after this pandemic for some people. Mental illness will continue after this pandemic. People will spend time in general hospitals and psychiatric wards and on long term medication after this pandemic.

2020 has been an Awakening to Mental illness but some will still suffer after 21st June.

As we exit lockdown, please remember mental illness isn’t going to go away just because we can all go to the pub, it will be a part of some people’s life forever

Author: jade bolton
Categories: News

Bumble Bees – parent and carer virtual group


Bumble Bees – parent and carer virtual group.

An opportunity for parents and carers to come together in the comfort of your own home. It’s a time to chat, share, get information and learn about the five ways to wellbeing.

If you’re interested in attending this group please speak to your service coordinator.

Author: jade bolton
Categories: News

Sign up – Newsletter round-up

To all service users and volunteers who would like to keep up to date with service updates, resources, marketing requests and much more, sign up to receive our NEW monthly newsletter.

Sign up here. 

Author: jade bolton
Categories: News

Reading Friends

Reading Friends is a UK-wide programme, developed with funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, which connects people by starting conversations through reading.

The Reading Agency mission is to tackle life’s big challenges, such as loneliness and isolation, through the proven power of reading. Reading Friends gives opportunities for people who are vulnerable, isolated and at risk of loneliness to meet others, share their stories, make new friends and have fun. It creates social connections and takes a person-centred approach, building on interests and hobbies of the people involved to share stories and get people talking. Delivered by volunteers and co-produced with our participants, Reading Friends meet regularly to chat and share stories in groups or one-to-one sessions.

The programme has been running since June 2017 and has seen The Reading Agency work in partnership with a range of organisations and communities to test different approaches to delivery, gradually expanding across the UK. Please note that during these difficult times, some Reading Friends projects have temporarily suspended or will be running differently. Reading Friends met face-to-face prior to Covid-19 but now our projects are starting to pilot telephone and virtual models.

Why Reading Friends matters

• Loneliness and social isolation is a significant health and wellbeing issue for older people. 8-10% of people aged 65 and older are often or always lonely, while 12% feel socially isolated
• Research shows that reading together can help older people to build social networks and connect with others. Evidence also shows that reading has a positive impact on empathy, cognitive function and wellbeing and can reduce the risk of dementia
• Age UK’s research shows that maintaining meaningful engagement with the world around you is key to wellbeing. Taking part in activities that support wellbeing is most difficult for people who are lonely and isolated or in poor health
• It also finds that creative and cultural participation makes the highest contribution to an older person’s wellbeing
• By May 2020, 41% of UK adults reported feeling lonelier since lockdown, and 1 in 3 had not had a meaningful conversation in the last week.

Get involved

If you are interested in starting Reading Friends, volunteering or joining a group, please sign up now. In the meantime, take a look at our Stay Connected! resources which give plenty of tips, activities, ideas and links to support you during this time

Author: jade bolton
Categories: News

My life with alcohol and beyond

One of our service users, Peter has just passed his first year of sobriety. From starting his treatment with the Essex Alcohol Recovery Community. Peter has successfully completed his Peer Mentoring course with the Essex Specialist Community Forensic Service at the end of 2020.

Peter is now studying for a counselling course, and soon to be volunteering with the Essex ARC service.

Here is Peter’s story on his life with alcohol and beyond;

After decades of using alcohol as a crutch to help me cope with life and trying numerous programmesin September 2019 I accepted that I couldn’t continue the ‘life’ that I was enduring. Surviving, functioning but physically and mentally addicted. I needed/wanted help to enable me to rid myself of the necessity to consume alcohol and become the real me! It was time to face my demons head on and I realised that I couldn’t do it on my own. 

sought assistance via Phoenix ARC in Essex, it was there that I was given the belief I wasn’t beyond help and by following advice and a lot of hard work I could beat my addiction. With huge amount of support I completed a preparation for change programme and managed to reduce my daily intake considerably. This was a suitable reduction to be accepted for a clinical detox on the 25/02/20 at Equinox in London on the 25/02/20 (the date of my last drink to date). 

After this I was lucky to be accepted into the SHARP cohort in Wickford, Essex commencing on 11/03/20, unfortunately this was affected by the Covid pandemic and physically ended on 20/03/20. The programme however continued via coursework and telephone, later via weekly zoom calls. Although, I found this type of support of great value but it did not fully address all of my issues, the lack of social interaction and being able to discuss the material with both peers and counsellors left my recovery with a lack of cohesion. Phoenix ARC has continued to provide me with great support including daily on line meetings and weekly conversations. I also attend AA, SMART Recovery and Essex Recovery Foundation meetings supplemented by daily recovery internet participation.  

This year has been difficult in terms of dealing with rediscovered emotions and feelings. However, the fact that I knew I had support available at the end of a phone was a key factor in maintaining my sobriety and helping deal with many issues including loneliness. 

During one of many conversations with my Alcohol Recovery Practitioner she suggested that I may consider taking part in a Peer Mentoring course as this would be of value to both me and the service. I considered this as a no brainer as I had been thinking what I could do to give back at least in part some of support that was given to me. 

Luckily for me I was accepted onto a course in early November 2010 held at the Phoenix Future office in Chelmsford. Although a little bit apprehensive at the start I found that I was made more than welcome by the facilitators and other peers. The course was run in a condensed format, again due to the Covid pandemic, however the pace and topics covered were stimulating and thought provoking. Having gained my certificate it has encouraged me to seek out further courses to enable me to increase my skill set and therefore my ability to be able to provide the best advice/help possible to others who are suffering in the same way that I did.  

I am now 525,600 minutes or 8,700 hours sober, a whole year – The next part of my journey has started. 

Considering the further recovery journey ahead of me, a big choice to embrace change and move forward was made. The necessity to change and adapt to newly discovered sobriety is essential to remain sober!  Without change my alcoholic mind set would still be able to function and convince me that it is acceptable to drink. “If you keep doing the same things, you will keep on getting the same results” It is not the alcohol that is devious it is the part of our brain that controls our actions. 

So the next stage to reclaim me began, I wanted to develop as a real person (not the one that relied on alcohol) to achieve something. Since I could see the many benefits, enhancing the quality of my life, improve my awareness and to gain skills and to develop my potential, I am currently studying for a qualification in counselling skills that is challenging but essential for me and hopefully others. 

I have now been offered a position as a volunteer recovery worker within ARC – Watch this space!! 

Author: jade bolton
Categories: News

Eating Disorder Awareness Week 1-7 March

Eating disorders can affect anyone, any week of the year, but Eating Disorders Awareness Week is a great opportunity for you to get involved and learn a little more. It may affect you, you may support someone close to you, or it may even be affecting someone you know. Everyone living with an eating disorder, including binge eating disorder, deserves compassion, support and respect.

  • More people live with binge eating disorder than anorexia or bulimia.
  • One in three of those ever affected by binge eating disorder considers taking their own life.
  • One in six of those ever affected by binge eating disorder attempts suicide.
  • Only one in four who have had the condition ever receives treatment.
  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rates among psychiatric disorders
  • Eating disorders affect around 1.25 million people in the UK
  • 1 in 50 people who experience binge eating disorder

Eating disorders are not a sign of weakness or the fault of the person suffering, and anyone who is ill deserves support. The good news is that you can get treatment for an eating disorder, and full recovery is possible.

One in fifty of us will experience binge eating disorder in our lifetime. It is the most common but least understood eating disorder. Watch and share this video explaining binge eating disorder.

For more information on Eating Disorders

Helpline: 0808 801 0677

Studentline: 0808 801 0811

Youthline: 0808 801 0711


Author: jade bolton
Categories: News