Switchboard launch Grief Encounters group for LGBTQ people who have experienced a bereavement.

Gscene Editorial Team November 21, 2019



Switchboard has announced that following a successful pilot last year, the Rainbow Fund will continue to support their Grief Encounters peer support group for LGBTQ people who have experienced a bereavement.

There is currently no LGBTQ specific support group for those of us who have been bereaved. LGBTQ people can face a number of additional challenges and stressors as well as the universal experience of grief, pain and sadness. Many people have reported experiences of homophobia (trans/bi/queer phobia). These have included a failure to acknowledge our relationships, estrangement from our families, legal and financial issues, being excluded from discussions and decision being made by family members and health care professionals.

This peer support group is open to all members of our community whatever their age, circumstances or whether the loss was recent or some years ago.  Losses as well as being the loss of our wives, husbands and partners also include the loss of our parents, family members, friends and colleagues

Natalie, whose wife died 10 months ago, was a participant in the pilot group. She explains the importance of this dedicated space for her.

“We all know grief- It’s a painful and isolating experience. I went to a non-LGBTQ bereavement group where I found myself alone with little understanding of the fact that I had lost my wife. It seemed like a concept that no one understood. I needed a space where I could just be myself and talk about how I felt with people who I didn’t need to explain things to and there was no pressure to come out…”

Grief Encounters is a peer support group which provides an exclusive and dedicated space to explore our grief. The group runs for 6 weeks and is led by experienced LGBTQ practitioners. It provides a confidential, safe and supportive space to:

  • Meet with other LGBTQ people who have experienced a bereavement
  • Use our shared identities to give and receive support
  • Explore a range of diverse and challenging feelings
  • Share coping strategies especially in respect of our possible sense of loneliness and isolation

Natalie continues…

“Grief Encounters provided the safe and supportive environment that I was seeking. It helped to hear about other LGBTQ peoples experiences as well as share my own. The group felt trusting, safe and contained and really helped me with my grieving process.

Thank you to Rainbow Fund and Switchboard for providing this essential group for our community.”

Wherever you are on your journey and whatever the loss you have experienced, Grief Encounters peer support group for LGBTQ people who have experienced a bereavement will provide a dedicated space to explore your grief.

To find out more about the project and watch a short video, visit the Switchboard  website:

Where: Possability Place, 14 Windlesham Avenue Brighton BN1 3AH

When: Monday 13th January – Monday 17th February 2020

Time: 7.00-8.30 pm

The course will run throughout the year on the following dates:- May 4th – June 15th 2020, September 7th – October 12th 2020

If you are interested in finding out more or attending one of these peer support groups phone Switchboard Office on 01273 234009 to speak to or leave a message for Jackie, Switchboard’s Grief Encounters Development Worker, or email her on

Additionally the following dates are available to meet up and discuss participating in the group.

Monday 2nd December – Between 4pm- 7pm

Friday 6th December- Between 3pm -6pm

Monday 9th December – Between 4pm- 7pm