Butterflies Bereavement and Friendship charity is based in Hampshire and is currently looking at opening a friendship club in the centre of Overton on a weekday afternoon.
Butterflies Bereavement and Friendship Groups are a safe and welcoming space for anyone affected by loneliness, isolation, or bereavement to come and appreciate the company of other people who are also lonely, isolated, or bereaved (recently or over the years).
To tell us more, CommunityAd caught up with founder Paul Burrows-Gibson…
Can you explain to readers what the Butterflies Friendship Group is all about?
Butterflies Friendship Group is a safe and welcoming space for anyone who is bereaved, lonely or isolated. We offer a safe space to come and appreciate the company of other people who are alone and benefit from meeting others. It is a space to relax; to chat, to drink tea and eat cake, and to tell and listen to each other’s stories, to speak of loved ones. An opportunity to come and share the company of others who feel lonely or lack friends. A space to discuss the things that others take for granted, helpful in facing the changes, adjusting, and moving towards the ‘new normal.’
When and where will you be running your sessions in Overton and how much is the cost?
The plan is to hold the group at St Marys Hall on Friday afternoons twice a month – we’re just in the process of confirming dates and times – as we are aware of increasing COVID-19 levels at the current time may mean we need to be more careful. All we ask is for a donation for the tea/cake of £3.
What will your sessions involve?
The groups will be informal and a place to meet and chat with others. We hope to have guest speakers once a month from support services and anything that those who attend would like. If you like homemade cake then the group is for you!
Do you feel your group is more important than ever now with the devastation that the past 16 months has caused?
Since the start of the pandemic, Butterflies has remained open 24/7 as the demand on our services has grown significantly across the County. The number of people in our communities who we never knew were lonely and isolated was massive – including in Overton and Oakley and through the work with Community Connectors and GP surgeries we were able to provide weekly calls to these people of all ages.
We are needed more now than ever before.
We are also looking for volunteers to welcome people, serve tea and cake and sit down and chat with those who come to visit. The group will meet for around an hour each time. We offer volunteers training and support and it’s so rewarding to be able to give some time to help others.
From a personal view, what have been the most rewarding moments so far that you have experienced through Butterflies Bereavement?
I created Butterflies just under 6 years ago as there was a need for more specialist support for all aspects of bereavement and over the years, we have been expanding to support those who are lost within their grief and become isolated and very lonely.
The mix of bereavement and friendship has grown, and we now cover the County and have also won awards for our work in the communities. We now offer bereavement counselling and support, friendship groups, Support for Veterans, and many other things.
Later this year we will be launching a significant suicide prevention service and a new project working with young adults who have been bereaved. Butterflies is led by volunteers, and no one is paid.
For me personally, being able to support people so that their tears are turned into smiles is the biggest reward for the 6 years I have led Butterflies and as we work through a pandemic and come out the other side, we are grateful to have the chance to create more opportunities for people to meet each other socially and make new friends.