As part of our ongoing Continuing Professional Development as regulated Financial Advisers - and specifically with my Later Life Qualification - I recently attended a very useful and meaningful presentation by Anne Wadey of The National Bereavement Service (NBS) entitled ‘Supporting Bereaved Clients’.
By the time we reach middle age, many of us have had the experience of losing close family and friends and, sadly, some people have to face grief at a much younger age. Grief, which is a natural part of life and loss - in the same way as death is an inevitable part of life, is never easy. It has been described as stepping off the land into a giant wave from the sea and the only way to deal with it is “to go through it”.
We are lucky when we have the support of family and close friends to help in these times and, fortunately, most people are resilient.
The NBS is a ‘not for profit’ volunteer-staffed organisation that exists purely to support people with the loss of loved ones. Unlike many other similar-sounding organisations you may find when searching online, this is not a commercial business that will try to make money or sell ‘services’ to those approaching them at a time of loss.
The NBS may be contacted directly via their phone number or website and, importantly, they do not store the details of anyone who contacts them other than to be able to return a ‘phone call. Reassuringly, the phones are answered by ‘real people’ and they work with major employers and customer benefit groups to offer a bereavement support package, so I am sure awareness of their valuable services will be raised.
Recent initiatives underway include offering a ‘one stop’ point of contact to help families and next of kin when a person’s death must be notified formally to various companies of which they may have been customers. This is a logical extension to the Government’s ‘Tell Us Once’ initiative, where all the state organisations are contacted after completion of a single form. NBS aim to provide this conduit to as many major organisations in the utilities, banking, insurance and other every day household-related sectors involved, thereby saving those recently bereaved much onerous administration at a time they’d often rather not have an increased burden.
As someone who, in recent years, has had to deal with sorting out the affairs of family members after bereavements, I think the work of this service seems to me a very welcome development.