Cruse Changes Lives

The Cruse Bereavement Care Annual Review 2015/16 tells the stories of some of those whose lives have changed for the better thanks to the work of Cruse. This past year we helped more than ever before - over half a million children, young people and adults were helped through our services, projects and websites.

Many of those we support go on to help us in a myriad of different ways, and we have told some of their stories in our report. People like Vanessa Roberts, who lost her father to suicide and her mother to cancer, and who turned to Cruse when she was struggling with a young family of her own. Vanessa went on to volunteer for Cruse, train as a counsellor and now also works as a co-ordinator for Cruse in Oxford. Vanessa said: “Cruse saved my life when I was at rock bottom. Since then it’s not an exaggeration to say it has changed every aspect of my life, and given me a direction and purpose which revolves around helping others.”

The Annual Review was formally adopted at the Annual General Meeting 2016 on Saturday 4 November at the Holiday Inn, Mayfair in London. Speaking at the event, Cruse Chief Executive Debbie Kerslake highlighted some of the ways Cruse has changed the lives of bereaved people in the past year. She said: “I think many Cruse volunteers and staff underestimate the huge impact they have on people’s lives. The legacies we are all creating are extraordinary. We touch people’s lives at a time when they are most vulnerable and, if we get it right, we make a difference that will be life changing and life-long.”

You can read more about who we helped in 2015/16 in the Annual Review - both the stories and the facts and figures.

The AGM also featured guest speaker Angela Samata. Angela spoke movingly about how her life, and that of her two sons, was changed forever when her partner took his own life in 2003. Nine months later Angela’s GP put her in touch with Cruse, who started Angela and her family on a journey which has included supporting others, campaigning and making a Bafta nominated film “Life after Suicide”. Angela spoke about the importance of peer support, both in helping bereaved people, and in preventing preventing further deaths in high risk groups – those who are bereaved by suicide are more at risk of suicide themselves.

Angela said: “Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50. We have to create a society where we can talk about the issues involved -- I can’t change what happened to us, but we can change what happens in the future.”

Picture: Angela Samata with Cruse Lambeth volunteer Donald Waters.