Hosting a ‘Living with Loss’ Grief Support event

Get in touch about hosting a workshop or retreat at your church or centre

Retreats are usually:

  • 5 days (starting Monday, ending Friday after lunch (preferably) or after breakfast. or
  • A long weekend (Friday to Sunday).

Workshops

  • Non-residential day events, either a minimum of 4 hours, or a series of events lasting up to 9-12 hours in total.

Workshops can be day or weekend events. At your invitation, we can come and lead the event, bringing all of the materials. All you need to do is provide the location and advertise it locally to those who you think would be interested. (And we need our expenses covered, etc…)

Ashtead in Surrey was the most recent place where we ran a weekend workshop. Sharon, who invited us to her parish, wrote afterwards:

“We recently hosted a ‘Living with Loss’ course at our church. Abi led it in such a sensitive and moving way, that all who came, left feeling that they had significantly found a new way of coping with their grief. I would recommend it to anyone who feels they need a safe place to express their grief and are looking for a way, to help them see hope as they journey on.”

If you are interested in organising something like this in 2020, please do get in touch soon. Our calendar fills up quite far in advance. 

Practical information for retreat centres, churches and other organisations that are interested in hosting a Living with Loss retreat or day course.

Facilities needed

(We can work around most of these if they’re not available, but these are the ideal.)

  • If at all possible, a meeting room for our sole use during the event. This is probably our most important single request. Having this room where we not only meet but any of the retreatants can pop in or sit down gives a sense of a safe space, and also provides a practical area for the resources we make available, including a small lending library of relevant books, colouring materials, etc. We also set up a little memorial corner where people can put pictures of their loved ones.
  • The meeting room usually has comfortable chairs set up in a circle.
  • We also need as area where we can do some craft work. This could just be a big table in the meeting room but if there is an art or craft room on the property, that would be ideal. Alternatively, the use of table and chairs “café style”.
  • A flipchart
  • Retreats only: Audiovisual – to enable us to show a film on one evening

 

Communications

  • I will provide you with a leaflet and poster to advertise the event. I am also available to take questions from potential participants.
  • I usually leave the main advertising to the retreat location hosts, but I do also put it up on my website. It’s helpful to have a link to your booking page once you have it.

 

Taking bookings

As you will realise, bereavement and grief is a sensitive topic and it is not always straightforward when people are considering whether to attend or not. It’s helpful if the administration/reception staff are made aware of this.

  • To help those who are interested decide whether this retreat is for them or not, we have an explanation written up. We would encourage you to give this explanation to anyone who enquires, and for those who have already booked, give them a chance to read it before finalising their booking.
  • I also publish blog articles about recent event that might be useful for some people to read to get a sense of the retreat. Such as: www.avalleyjournal.wordpress.com/2018/02/26/last-week-at-launde-abbeys-living-with-loss-retreat/
  • It is important when taking bookings to ensure that the loss/es they are grieving are primarily through bereavement. There are other kinds of losses including divorce but that is beyond the scope of this event.
  • If people have questions and concerns, before or after booking, and I am happy to speak with them or respond to their emails. We can work out whether you’d want to give them my contact details or let me get in touch with them directly.
  • It is quite common for some people to have a last minute “wobble” about whether to attend. Usually a chat on the phone is enough to put them at ease and again, I don’t mind helping with this.
  • We have a questionnaire that we ask those who book onto the retreat to complete and send to us – either directly or via yourselves. This enables us to see the range of people who are attending, but it is also meant to help them start reflecting on their issues

 

Practical/financial

  • For residential retreats, we ask for £25 per participant to cover the cost of materials. (Hosts usually include this in their accommodation charge.) For workshops the charge is usually £20. However this is all negotiable.
  • We also need to receive from you our mileage (travel expenses)
  • Our fee: We don’t have a set charge. Some locations pay their retreat leaders, in which case it’s usually about £100 per full day. Others offer a bursary or a gift, and that’s perfectly fine too.
  • We do ask if it is possible for us to arrive the day prior to the retreat, so we can rest from our travels and get oriented and set up. (This obviously depends on location. We are based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.)
  • Minimum/maximum numbers: The ideal numbers are 8 to 18, although we have also run events with fewer or more people. Our absolute minimum is 6 participants. We understand you might have your own minimum numbers for financial viability.

 

Everything on these pages is open for discussion. We are quite flexible, within reason!

Running an event of this nature is quite an undertaking, both for ourselves and our host locations, but the reward is to see people find comfort and hope for their life’s journey. We do appreciate your willingness to host the event and trust you will find it worthwhile too.

Please get in touch to discuss this further.