ABOVE AND BEYOND Chris (left) and Jo Parker of Abbey Funeral Services

FAMILIES in the Tonbridge area who are struggling to come to terms with the loss of a loved one are being offered free bereavement support as part of a new scheme by funeral directors and qualified counsellors.

The service is being made available to clients of Abbey Funeral Services in the town as part of a partnership between the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) and Professional Help Ltd.

The scheme, called SAIFCare, has been started in response to a growing awareness of the need for people to seek support after the death of a close friend or relative.

SAIFCare offers up to six free counselling sessions, which can be used by one person or different members of a family.

The sessions with a specialist counsellor can take place at a location of the bereaved person’s choice, on the phone, by email or online chat.

Chris Parker, Managing Director of Abbey Funeral Services, said: “We often see people at the start of their journey of grief and feel we would like to do more to assist, as we know that feelings of sadness and loss don’t end with the funeral,” she said.

“This service enables us to go above and beyond for the families in our care in order to ensure they get the support and advice they need at life’s most difficult time.

“We already offer support in our charity Friends Together but not everyone wants to join a group.”

Catherine Betley, Founder of Professional Help, added: “There is no time limit on grief, but we do know that providing support early on in the journey can have significant benefits for a person’s wellbeing.”

For information, call Chris Parker or Jo Parker on 01732 360328.