A free grief cafe in Epping has been providing support for residents who have lost a loved one, after it opened last month.

The Good Grief Cafe is held at cemetery and ceremonial park, GreenAcres Epping Forest, and has been launched in partnership with bereavement charity, The Good Grief Trust.

A recent survey from GreenAcres found that nearly a third of people in the South East have discussed their funeral preferences more frequently with loved ones compared to before the pandemic, highlighting the importance of enabling open conversations about grief and end of life.

Designed to offer an umbrella of support to people in Essex, the Good Grief Cafe takes place on the last Saturday of every month and is run by Good Grief Trust volunteers who have all been bereaved themselves, alongside trained members of the team from GreenAcres, to connect and signpost people to services across the region and help them find a way forward.

Marina Winter, part of the support team at GreenAcres Epping Forest, said: “It has been so lovely to be able to discuss the Cafes with our families.

“It demonstrates the commitment we have to building long-term relationships with them and the important part we play in making GreenAcres a place for the living.

“It was a pleasure to see people sharing their own stories and finding support in each other.

“Following our first Cafe session, the daughter of one of our families popped into the office to say how much both she and her Mum enjoyed the morning.

“It had helped her Mum through her grief and loss just talking to other people who have an understanding as to how she is feeling.”