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Annual Report for Cuppa & Company Petersfield 2013

Having realised the need for some specific, local support for families after a bereavement, and with the positive affirmation of the churches, we launched Cuppa & Company in March 2012 and have, since, endeavoured to be a Christian Presence in the Petersfield area reaching out to those who are newly, or not-so-recently, bereaved.

Our vision is to offer company and support to people in the varying stages of the grief journey. We provide carefully laid-up tables, with cloths and flowers, fine cups and saucers, and an array of home-made cakes, as a demonstration of care and our team of befriending helpers – drawn from the different churches in Petersfield and the surrounding area – are always available to listen and chat, as we enjoy an informal gatherings.

We have been well supported by caring individuals and the PACT Churches; in particular The Life Church, the Salvation Army, and the URC for the use of their lovely hall.

We meet in the United Reformed Church Hall on College Street on the first Tuesday of every month and we have been welcoming between six and sixteen people each month since our beginnings last spring.

It has taken a while to become known in the area, although The Post and The Herald assisted with stories at the beginning and we circulate individual invitations amongst the church leaders, and place invitation posters in many public places in the town including Doctors’ Surgeries, the Hospital, the Library, Church notice boards, shop staff rooms, the Town Chaplaincy. We have built a good working relationship with other local Service Providers who care for older residents, and have been pleased to be recommended by local GPs to their patients who may be struggling with life after bereavement. We have been blessed to hear how we have helped several local people in their grief process and friendships have been birthed as a result of the group, which is an affirming part of the vision.

Our greatest resource is our prayerful team of be-frienders who have faithfully supported the monthly gatherings as well as made cake and poured tea! My new, full time teaching position means that I’m so longer able to lead the monthly get-togethers, so Lesina Ashfield (already part of the team, from the beginning) is now ably overseeing and managing the monthly organisation of Cuppa & Company, supported by the regular team.

We have recently received a request from a few older residents in Froxfield to take a ‘Moblie Cuppa & Company’ ‘up the hill’ once a month, and my colleague The Rev’d Chris Prior Jones is looking into the possibilities and practicalities of our being able to fulfil this request.

My sincere thanks go to Lesina and the team, to the churches and those who have given, supported, and prayed for Cuppa & company and for the people we have had the privilege to meet. Please continue to spread the word that we are here for those on their own or finding the Journey after Loss difficult. We want to ease that path and enable connections, reassurance and life to continue - in Jesus’ name.

Rev’d Beth Woodgate

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