Grant awarded to MK-based support group Covid19familiesuk

The past year or so has been unprecedented and extraordinary, but as we take tentative steps towards a ‘post-Covid’ future, the lives lost due to the pandemic will never be forgotten – and a new initiative in Milton Keynes is providing help for those left grieving.

Covid19familiesuk offers bereavement and mental health provision for those who need support, and it has received a welcome grant from Great Linford Parish Council (GLPC), which has stepped up with £1000 to help establish this important service.

Covid19familiesuk was set up by parish resident Deborah Lewis. Devastatingly, she lost both her parents in the space of just six months during the pandemic.

“My sister and I realised that there just wasn’t the necessary support in place when we needed it,” she recalled, “We didn’t even know how to register my father’s death because nowhere was open. It seemed obvious that there should be a network where bereaved people could befriend others going through the same grief in the same area.”

Deborah now works as a full-time volunteer for the group she founded, and it has swelled considerably; there are now an incredible 37 of them across the UK supporting 4000 people.

The money donated by GLPC will help fund a memorial event, Candlelight4Covid on June 23.

An invitation only lantern parade will begin at Midsummer Place before snaking a trail to MK Rose in Campbell Park where a public memorial ceremony will take place at 7.30pm.

“The pandemic has been traumatic for so many people, and the devastation was worsened by the restrictions on funeral numbers and not being able to mix with others,” said GLPC chair Marc Whelan.

“It is great that we are starting to find some normality again, but for the many families that have been bereaved during the pandemic, life will never be quite the same.

“As a parish council we recognise the needs of our residents and believe that Covid19familiesuk is a wonderful vehicle to help people,” Marc added, “The memorial event is a chance to pay respects and support one another now that we can meet up again.”

The event will remember the lives of all those lost during the pandemic, irrespective of whether Covid was the cause of death.

“I want to thank GLPC, not only for their kindness and monetary assistance, but for the support that everyone there has given to families in the parish throughout the pandemic,” Deborah added, “They have been incredible.”

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