Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Compassionate Friends

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The Festival of Quilts put us in touch with many different people and one of them that I was delighted to be able to spend some time talking to was Irene Baldock. Irene runs a creative use of grief group down in Medway. The group are all bereaved parents who have found sewing to be very therapeautic and helpful in their grief. They are known as the Sunray Group and have been working hard making a memory quilt.
Each sunray block in this quilt has been beautifully sewn by a parent or grandparent or sibling and they hope to have it finished in time to display at the National Gathering near Cambridge in October. Below is a photo of their work in progress of this quilt.

Some have gone on and made delightful butterfly wall hangings - see below - using wire hangers and other items purchased from Cotton Patch.

They are part of a national charity called The Compassionate Friends (TCF for short) which is based in Bristol and has links around the world.

The charity's address is The Compassionate Friends, 53 North Street Bristol BS3 1EN. The national website is
www.tcf.org.uk. The Helpline 08451 23 23 04 is operated by bereaved parents. The Compassionate Friends was founded in 1969 and is open to all parents whose son or daughter has died, at any age and from any cause. The death of a child brings many difficulties within the family. TCF know that there is no easy path through the pain, and do not offer simple solutions. What they do offer is continuing understanding, friendship and encouragement. They also offer support to grandparents and siblings.

Members of TCF, all of whom are bereaved, offer time to listen and share experiences and feelings. Everyone has different needs and circumstances and TCF has a wide range of support services to meet their needs.
For example:
A Helpline run by bereaved parents
A network of local TCF Contacts who may offer one-to-one visiting and hold group meetings
Support through letter and email with Contacts or other bereaved parents
A Website with information
A range of publications, written by TCF, offering both practical and emotional support
A quarterly journal
A postal library based in Chatham Kent containing over 2,000 titles for the bereaved and professionals
A programme of informal weekend Retreats and an annual weekend Gathering.

I thought it was important to share this with you as I am quite sure that there are many people who would find the creative outlet that patchwork gives very therapeutic when they have been bereaved. Irene was telling me how many people who didn't sew at all produced some beautiful pieces.
If you are interested in finding out more please visit the TCF website.

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The Cotton Patch is a family run patchwork and quilting business which was started by Jean Sewell in 1990. The shop is situated in Hall Green, Birmingham and expanded in 1999 to include the shop next door. Originally offering Mail Order catalogues, The Cotton Patch established one of the first patchwork and quilting websites in the UK. The Cotton Patch continues to be a premier supplier of patchwork and quilting fabrics, tools and notions and supplies customers throughout the UK and the world.