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Bromley facing bereavement funding shake up
A BEREAVEMENT service may be forced to pay its own way if it loses out on important funding.
There are currently three groups which receive cash from NHS South East London to run bereavement counselling services - Bromley Community Bereavement Service, St Christopher's Hospice in Sydenham and The Bereavement Centre in Orpington .
However only one will continue to be government funded following a shake up in how services are provided.
Providers are being invited to submit "bids" to determine which service is most suitable, with a decision expected to be made by the health trust next month.
The Bromley support group, based above St Mary's Church Hall in College Road, Bromley, receives £64,000 and has already begun making arrangements to raise money.
An indoor fair is planned for Saturday, June 30 between 1.30pm and 5pm at the church with stalls selling all kinds of things from bric-a-brac to clothes and plants.
There will also be a raffle, a hairdresser offering "trims and fringes" and a chance for children to have their photos professionally taken.
The group, which has been going since 1995, is set to add seven counsellors to its team of 36, who are all volunteers, and receives on average 80 grieving clients each week.
If the service lost funding, it would expand to provide other counselling services, such as marriage guidance and coping with redundancy, to attract more clients.
Manager Valerie Morris said: "The service is absolutely life-saving for lots of people.
"We get all kinds of people through the door. For example the parents of young people who are killed in road accidents, murder victims, elderly people who are now living alone.
"We don't charge but if we become a general counselling service we will have to charge to pay the running of the building.
"Fundraising will be difficult and take a lot of hard work."
A spokesman for NHS South East London said: "NHS Bromley is currently redesigning local bereavement services to increase available options – including services for young people and a secure website - for people in Bromley.
"Local bereavement service providers have been invited to quote so that we can award the service to the most suitable supplier for local people."