Cruse Bereavement Care has been providing support to bereaved people in Suffolk since the 1980s. Suffolk Cruse was formed in April 2009 to bring together the four branches: Suffolk Coastal, Ipswich, North Suffolk & Great Yarmouth and West Suffolk. The four branches still operate at a local level and the overall strategic direction of the charity is administered by an Area Committee.
In late 2015, Suffolk Cruse experienced serious financial difficulties due to funding cuts. Following a three-month suspension from July to September 2016 – during which Cruse could not take on new adult clients – and a full budget review to see how they could continue, each branch increased their focus on fundraising from organisations such as the Suffolk Community Foundation and the business community.
Since then, the situation has stabilised, and as of 1st October 2016 Suffolk Cruse has again been able to take on new clients. The financial situation remains very precarious, however, as there is a lack of sustainable or statutory funding. The Ipswich branch is currently working out of offices provided for free by the East of England Funeral Services.
The County Labour Group have recently come forward with much needed funds to enable the Ipswich Branch of Cruse to train and use a new information system.
Elizabeth Murphy, the Chair Ipswich Cruse, said “The funding provided to us by the Labour Group will make a big difference in our ongoing struggle to survive. To enable all volunteers and staff to use the computer system, all clients will be entered on the database ensuring that detailed information is available. The information for statistical purposes will be held centrally, ensuring that we have up to date information for our funders and for our promotion of our service and development. If Cruse is more efficient at digital record keeping, we will be able to apply to more funders. With more funders, we are more likely to keep this service running for vulnerable people in Ipswich.”
Mrs Murphy added, “Also due to having to suspend the service for three months in 2016, there are people waiting to be seen in Ipswich and the locality budget will be used to help those who have been waiting for our support.”
Mandy Gaylard, Labour Spokesperson for Communities, said “The service that Cruse provides to the community goes beyond monetary value. We have all lost people we care about and we all know how that can affect us emotionally. We can lose ourselves in grief, with consequences on our work, our home and our other relationships. Providing a child, or a spouse, or a family member, with the support they need to navigate through the difficulties that a close loss can bring is of the utmost importance to a healthy community.”
Cllr Gaylard concluded, “The entire Labour Group at Suffolk County Council are delighted to be able to come forward with these funds to help ensure that Ipswich Cruse are able to continue doing their valuable work.”