Cruse and Corrymeela Launch New Families Project | Cruse Bereavement Care

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A new five-year project, beginning in October 2014, will bring together bereaved families from across Northern Ireland into a caring environment where they can support each other.

Cruse Bereavement Care and Corrymeela Community are delighted to announce "Famlies Learning Together" a partnership project for bereaved families, which has been awarded a grant of £676,384 from the Big Lottery Fund's Supporting Families programme.

Young Cruse Coordinator Elaine Roub said that each year in Northern Ireland, more than 28,000 children lose someone they love to death; and more than 9,000 school-aged children here have lost a parent or sibling. 

The Families Learning Together project will offer vital, wrap-around support to 50 families through activity days, residentials at Corrymeela in Ballycastle, ongoing individual support as needed and—importantly—the families themselves having opportunities to support other bereaved families and help educate the community.

Susan McEwen, Head of Programme at Corrymeela, stated: "Corrymeela are very excited about this project.  This for us is a natural progression of the work of Desney Cromey, a community member who several years ago established the Treetops project working with bereaved families. In fact, it was Desney who first made the connection between Corrymeela and Cruse."

Anne Townsend, Director of Cruse in Northern Ireland, commented: “The Big Lottery Fund have supported the development of Cruse services for children and young people over the past nine years and we very much look forward to working alongside Corrymeela Community to further expand this support.”

Families Learning Together has evolved because it is what the parents, young people and children who have come to Cruse and Corrymeela over the years have asked for—a chance to break through isolation, shed some burdens, laugh a little and communicate more with each other and with other families. 

This year, Corrymeela celebrates its 50th Anniversary and Cruse its 30th anniversary; between them they have 80 years of experience coming alongside people in the midst of bereavement, conflict and trauma. The two organisations share a strong volunteer ethos and a common vision for strengthening families and individuals. The Families Learning Together project will enable them to build on that vision by working, learning and serving families together.

If you are interested in volunteering with “Families Learning Together”, or if you know of a family who might like to join the project, please contact or

More information is available from Cruse at (0) 28 9079 2419 or Corrymeela at (0) 28 9050 8080.