St Luke’s Hospice is extending counselling support to adults, children and young people in the local community due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The project, which is being resourced by the NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, means families who are currently facing a progressive illness or have lost a loved one to a progressive illness (including Covid-19) can request a referral for counselling at St Luke’s – even if they have no previous links to the Hospice.

The Hospice’s Family Support and Counselling Manager Chris Jackson said: “We’re making people aware of this new service in the hope to reach out to our community.

“It could help a patient or a family member anticipating death from a progressive illness, a Covid-19 loss or the loss of a loved one through illness during this awful time.”

Referral to the Hospice can be made via a GP. A qualified team of therapists at St Luke’s will then provide professional psychological support for people either pre or post bereavement with up to 12 sessions via Zoom or telephone funded by the project.

Chris added: “In our area we recognise there is a lack of pre and post bereavement support and this funding from the Clinical Commissioning Group will enable us to reach out further into our community to support families during this difficult time.

“People are feeling more isolated at the moment which sadly compounds grief reactions and we are expecting this to continue for many months to come unfortunately.”

The county-wide project by the NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group also involves East Cheshire Hospice at Macclesfield and the Hospice of the Good Shepherd in Chester.