Welcome to the Winchester Group
Our group was formed in 2017 and our first meeting was on the 2 March that year, so we are just celebrating 4 years! The three of us who now run the group are Ellie, Susannah and Beeb (see brief details about each of us below!) and we have both a really good volunteering relationship but also friendship.
We support one another whole heartedly.
On 23 June 2019 we adopted a tree at our local arboretum (Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey) and had a dedication picnic with many group attendees and their families. The tree we adopted is a liquidambar which from its name is the most beautiful fiery colour in the autumn and has almost a weeping form, appropriately.
When COVID meant we had to close our face2face group, we embraced virtual meetings early on although it was a steep learning curve for us and many of the people who used to come to our real life meetings couldn’t adapt but we have supported many new people throughout 2020 and into 2021 and will almost certainly continue with an online group even when we are allowed to meet in person again.
We all feel really passionately about peer support as we know how speaking to others who are also living through the experience of losing someone to suicide, is so very valuable. We also want to give people hope that it is possible to survive such a devastating, life changing event.
It’s so rewarding to be part of the Winchester group, delivering peer support to those bereaved by suicide, alongside Beeb and Susannah. I first came to the group some years after losing my father, Alan, to suicide in 2013. It was such a revelation to talk to others who I felt just ‘got it’, despite no two experiences being the same. It felt like coming home. It was the only time I got to speak openly about my dad and my grief, and still is. I was only too pleased to become a group facilitator and more recently a member of the board of trustees, in order to continue to support the amazing work that SoBS does throughout the UK. Read more about Ellie here
Being a facilitator in the Winchester SoBS group is such a fulfilling and rewarding experience. I first attended a SoBS group meeting in Bournemouth after my Mum’s suicide. It was so comforting to finally be able to talk to people who understood my experience and could share in a unique way. I moved to the Winchester group shortly after it started and became a group facilitator two years ago. I feel very lucky to be running the group with two such compassionate and supportive volunteers.
I lost my youngest daughter Bryony in 2012 and attended the Portsmouth SoBS group for a while. I was also running a therapy centre and we had a large meeting room, so for a couple of years I hosted an unaffiliated bereavement group for Southampton people who had lost someone to suicide and didn’t want to travel as far as Portsmouth or Bournemouth. I then got involved in setting up the SoBS Winchester group and feel blessed to be working alongside Ellie and Susannah. It is such a privilege to be able to support others through this complicated and tragic type of bereavement.
Contact the Winchester Group here