A friendship group set up to support people who have been bereaved has seen a huge response since launching in Rayleigh and Rochford last month.
The New Steps group, which is funded by Sanctuary Housing, has so far been contacted by more than 40 people and regularly attracts up to 15 to its weekly meetings.
Taking place from 1.30pm to 3pm every Wednesday at Rayleigh Baptist Church, the group provides an opportunity for people to meet regularly with others who understand the grieving process, share their experiences and find companionship.
Already a packed programme of activities has been organised with members taking part in computer workshops, Zumba classes and concert trips.
As Christmas approaches, they will also be getting together for a carol service at Holy Trinity Church in Rayleigh and enjoying a festive lunch.
New Steps is also being supported by Rayleigh, Rochford and District Association for Voluntary Service (RRAVS), disability charity the Hamelin Trust, the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Rayleigh Baptist Church.
Victoria Marzouki, partnerships & development manager at RRAVS, said: “The group only started in September but already it has made such a difference to the lives of so many people.
“It is very welcoming to any newcomers, whatever their experience or length of time grieving, and provides them with a place to meet with others who understand their situation.”
Chris Silvey, Sanctuary’s resident involvement officer, added: “It is fantastic to see how the group has had a positive effect on people’s lives in such a short space of time and hopefully this will continue.”
To find out more about the group, call 01268 772796 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sanctuary is supporting the project through its Maureen’s Gift fund, which gives donations to charities, resident groups and voluntary organisations in need of financial help to deliver community activities. It was set up in 2011 in memory of local community champion Maureen Vince.
To apply or find out more about Maureen’s Gift, contact Sanctuary, quoting Maureen’s Gift, on either 0300 123 3511 or 0800 131 3348. Alternatively, email email@example.com.