People in Rayleigh and Rochford have paid tribute to the friendship group that has helped them to deal with bereavement.
The New Steps group, which is funded by Sanctuary Housing, was established last summer to support individuals going through the grieving process.
In its first few weeks it attracted around 15 people to weekly Wednesday meetings at Rayleigh Baptist Church and that number has continued to grow.
Organisers have arranged a variety of activities such as historical walks and theatre trips as members share their experiences and find companionship.
They now have plans to run trips to the cinema, Hyde Hall and Tiptree as well as further afield to Jersey and possibly Lanzarote.
New Steps is seen as a lifeline by those who attend and they have been quick to praise its impact on their lives.
Jen, who is a member of the group, said: “I think it is a good idea to have a group like this as it gets you out of the house and encourages you to mix with people. The staff are great and make you feel part of the group.”
Another, Sue, commented: “My Dad goes to this group and it’s given him a new lease of life. Thanks so much to those people who put so much time into running it.”
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.
Meetings take place from 1.30pm to 3pm every Wednesday at Rayleigh Baptist Church.
Victoria Marzouki, partnerships & development manager at RRAVS, said: “It is good to see how well the group has been received and that is helping people to come to terms with their loss and carry on with their lives.”
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.