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O-17 Powerful when fragile: how people with lived experience of bereavement are changing bereavement support for everyone
  1. Mary Hodgson and
  2. Jan Noble
  1. St Christopher’s Hospice, London, UK


Background Lived experience is a powerful source of knowledge and action in society, giving its holder insight, knowledge and perspective, and often the motivation to change things or to help others. This experience can also be important in bridging a gap or redistributing power in designing new services and modelling new ways of working which work for people, and pay attention to the knowledge and strengths they have.

Aims This presentation will explore a co-production exercise in St Christopher’s Hospice using community action methods with people with bereavement experience. We will review some of the outcomes of working to co-delivery and some of the feedback received from those who took part.

Methods We used Community Action and co-production techniques working with people with bereavement experience over some months to create a new programme of community-based support for bereavement. We also trialled it and co-created the training with volunteers. We then supported the activity through to volunteer recruitment and delivery, creating a 1–1 matching system for those people who were in the first days of a post-death bereavement, and with carers, working pre-death to support them through the process.

Results We will report on the outcomes of the first year. In its first year the initiative has created a powerful form of peer support particularly focused at early bereavement which has helped people with early bereavement experiences, including them navigating to future support or turning down formal bereavement support offers. The training for volunteers has been very well evaluated by new volunteers, and focuses on experiential learning, future planning through to bereavement, and building confidence in real life situations.

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