Bereaved family member of coronavirus victim launches nationwide support network

    Debbie Lewis lost her father to COVID-19 in April and says she did not receive the amount of support from the Government that she hoped for.

    The family had to organise everything, ranging from the funeral to the death certificate, on the internet. "During the three week wait for the funeral," Debbie said, "I began to watch in horror as the daily death toll rose and began to realise that, like us, there was no support network for grieving families."

    Only ten people were allowed to attend the funeral; there was no funeral car, no hugs, no wake. Needing some extra support, Debbie wanted to speak to staff from a bereavement support network but discovered that there would be a long wait.

    "The emotional impact coupled with the social isolation was massive and I knew we weren't the only ones," Debbie continued. She then decided to create her own safe space where grieving family members of COVID-19 victims could come together and support each other. 

    The group, called Covid19 Families UK, currently has over 100 members who are all grieving the loss of a loved one. And, now that the country is beginning to ease its way out of lockdown, Debbie is in the process of splitting the groups into regional areas. 

    "I am now appealing for covid bereaved families in the Buckinghamshire area to come forward via the group so that we can come together as a united force," Debbie continued. Families in Buckinghamshire who have lost a loved one due to COVID-19 can join the support group by clicking here

    Now that more people are showing keen interest in the group, Debbie is currently in the process of applying for charity status. Should the status be granted, the charity will continue to support bereaved families and ensure that they are included, consulted and invited to any future events concerning memorials and the commemoration of the pandemic. 

    "I have also set up a Just Giving page so that the group can apply for Charity status," she concluded. "To be able to do so, the group needs to have a base fund of £5000. So I am appealing to local businesses and individuals across the UK to come forward and assist so that the group can form a charity and reach out to possibly as many as 40,000 grieving families." Find out more here

    Last week, the MK Rose unveiled a new pillar to commemorate the COVID-19 pandemic and its victims. When it is safe to do so, the MK Rose will be hosting a public memorial and Debbie has ensured that the family members of COVID-19 victims will be invited to attend. 

    Details of the national support group can be found here, and details of the Bucks support group can be found here

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