I founded Next Steps in April 2017, a few months after my Mother (Uschi) died.
Helping my Father care for Mum as she neared the end of her life, holding vigil at her bedside on the night she died, and supporting Dad through the enormity of his grief (whilst in mourning myself) has given me a far deeper insight into life-limiting illness and loss than any of the courses I’ve attended, or books I’ve read. In creating Next Steps, my vision is to blend many years of training as a therapist with all that life has taught me about living, dying, and grieving. My hope is to offer a therapeutic service which supports and empowers others as they navigate their own experiences of death and dying.
In the beginning Next Steps was an informal community group, holding monthly conversations about death and bereavement, and running occasional end-of-life care skills workshops to help people support loved ones who were dying. It has since evolved into a specialist counselling and support service. It has expanded into online and outdoor, nature-based therapy, and is developing close links with other professional organisations such as Kingsbridge Age Concern and St. Luke’s Hospice.
Recently, Next Steps was registered as a Community Interest Company or CIC. This will enable us to start applying for local and national funding so that we can offer our community-based services at cost (or in some cases free).
In my capacity as Director of Next Steps and Centre Manager at Kingsbridge Age Concern, I am actively forging close partnerships with other local charities and community groups, as well as healthcare and palliative care professionals. My aim is to develop an integrated palliative care and bereavement support network for Kingsbridge and its surrounding areas, with a particular emphasis on supporting our ageing community.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.