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National Grief Awareness Week - helping support those feeling isolated after the loss of a loved one

By Louise Forsyth, a lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who helps bereaved families 

National Grief Awareness Week, also known as NGAW 21, is a national initiative run by the Good Grief Trust and dedicated to raising awareness of the impact of grief and loss. 

NGAW 21 takes place every year between 2 and 8 December. When families are left with the grief of losing a loved one, many end up feeling incredibly isolated, lonely and sometimes experience severe mental and physical health problems. 

The covid-19 pandemic has heightened the challenges that families have faced and many charities are doing everything in their power to offer support and guidance to those that have lost a dear one.

Support is available

One charity taking part in NGAW 21 is Widowed and Young (WAY). WAY is the only national charity in the UK for people aged 50 or under who have been affected by the loss of a partner. It is a peer to peer support group, operating with a network of volunteers, and has grown to support more than 4,200 young widowed people nationally.


 In support of National Grief Awareness week, WAY’s very own Linda Magistris, who set up the Good Grief Trust, has been working incredibly hard in the background with her team to help support this year’s campaign - and message which is #SpreadSomeWarmth - through hosting a range of events throughout the week to help spread the warmth while the temperature outside begins to drop. 

Some of the events that will be taking place throughout the week include: offering a Griefchat online support service where families can speak directly with specifically trained bereavement counsellors, coffee mornings, pop-up cafes, a Christmas memorial for people bereaved or affected by suicide, and a city bus travelling through Central London and Plymouth which is open to the general public.

How you can help

If you are interested in helping to spread some warmth, consider reaching out to someone who has been bereaved. You could stop for a chat, go for a walk and talk, check in on your neighbours or put the kettle on. One simple yet lovely gesture would be to light an orange candle within your home at 6pm on the final day of National Grief Awareness Week, 8 December 2021, in memory of all loved ones.

More information about WAY'S support for National Grief Awareness Week can be found at the charity's website.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting people following the loss of a loved one at our dedicated coping with bereavement section.