Skip to content

Bereavement counselling and advice

There are a wide range of specialist bereavement counselling services available to help, support and advise you following the death or a relative or friend.

Bereavement benefits and help with funeral expenses

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) provides a range of bereavement benefits to help assist with the costs of bereavement and funeral expenses. 

  • Bereavement Support Payment provides financial support to people for a period after the death of a husband, wife or civil partner. You may be eligible to claim this even if you do not normally claim benefits.
  • Funeral Expenses Payment from the Social Fund helps with the cost of funeral expenses. You can only claim this if you or your partner are getting one of the qualifying benefits. 

For more information on bereavement benefits please contact your local Jobcentre Plus, telephone the DWP Bereavement Service helpline on 0800 731 0469 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm), or visit GOV.UK.

Support for child funeral costs (Children’s Funeral Fund for England)

The Children’s Funeral Fund for England can help to pay for some of the costs of a funeral for a child under 18 or a baby stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy.

It is not means-tested: what you earn or how much you have in savings will not affect what you get.

The burial or cremation must take place in England.

What the fund covers

The Children’s Funeral Fund for England can help pay for the:

  • burial fees
  • cremation fees, including the cost of a doctor’s certificate
  • coffin, shroud or casket (up to a cost of £300)

If you have other funeral expenses, you might be able to apply for Funeral Expenses Payment to cover them.

We will automatically claim the cost of the burial or cremation fees directly from the fund. Claims for coffin costs should be discussed with your funeral director or made directly online at GOV.UK - child funeral costs.

Child Bereavement UK

Telephone: 0800 028 8840

Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement. Their vision is for all families to have the support they need to rebuild their lives.

Child Bereavement Network

Telephone: 0207 843 6054

The Child Bereavement Network is a directory of services throughout the UK that offer support to bereaved children and young people as well as other information and resources (including postcards to help children explain needs to school or others).

Cruse Bereavement Care

Telephone: 0116 288 4119

Cruse Bereavement Care is the leading national charity for bereaved people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They offer support, advice and information to children, young people and adults when someone dies and work to enhance society’s care of bereaved people.

Cruse offers face-to-face, telephone, email and website support. They have a national helpline and local services, and a website and freephone helpline specifically for children and young people. Services are provided by trained volunteers and are confidential and free.

National Bereavement Service

Telephone: 0800 024 6121

The National Bereavement Service  helps those in need of support during the difficult time of losing a loved one. The service provides free practical advice and emotional support to bereaved families, anything from explaining the ins and outs of probate, to helping someone find a bereavement counsellor to just providing a listening ear. The service can be accessed by phone, email or live webchat.

Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity (SANDS)

Telephone: 0207 436 5881

SANDS supports anyone who has been affected by the death of a baby before, during or shortly after birth. They offer emotional support and information for parents, grandparents, siblings, children, families and friends, health professionals and others.

The Laura Centre

Telephone: 0116 254 4341

Opened by the bereavement charity COPE in 1991, The Laura Centre offers specialist bereavement counselling to parents whose child has died and to children or young people who have been bereaved of a parent or significant person. Based in Leicester, the centre offers wide ranging individual and group support as well as a variety of alternative therapies

Shama Women's Centre

Telephone: 0116 262 5876

Shama Women's Centre in Highfields, Leicester provide free bereavement counselling support services plus a range of therapeutic activities for women who have lost a loved one at any point in their lives. They offer cultural-based counselling support through individual and group therapy.

Sue Ryder Online Community

Sue Ryder’s Online Bereavement Support makes it easy to connect with the right support from your own home. Whether you’re looking for one-to-one professional support, to talk to others in similar situations, or to read expert information resources.

Winston’s Wish

Telephone: 01242 515 157

Winston’s Wish is the leading childhood bereavement charity in the UK offering practical support and guidance to bereaved children, their families and professionals.

Winston’s website has extensive resources for parents/carers and schools as well as many areas for children and young people. This includes guidance on how to talk to children about a range of topics including causes of death, serious illness and funerals. There is a list of books and other resources for all subjects and some DVDs, films that can be viewed directly from the site.

The Natural Death Centre

Telephone: 01962 712 690

The Natural Death Centre is an educational charity that gives free, impartial advice on all aspects of dying, bereavement and consumer rights. The organisation provide support on family-organised and environmentally friendly funerals, and runs the Association of Natural Burial Grounds.

Body donation for medical research and education

Some people wish to leave their bodies for medical research or education. Anyone wanting to do this will need to make arrangements before they die and tell their relatives. A bequest cannot be accepted without an appropriately signed and witnessed Consent Form, or a legal document drawn up with reference to the Human Tissue Act 2004.