South Cambridgeshire Logo
My South Cambs:
Sign in or register

News release from: 20/05/2024

Finding solace in the storm. New bereavement café is supported by the District Council

Finding solace in the storm. New bereavement café is supported by the District Council

A new bereavement café has been given a grant from South Cambridgeshire District Council to fund bespoke volunteer training.

The Harbour Bereavement Café at Cambourne Church is open to people of all faiths, or none, who need a listening ear, support and understanding to navigate the challenging journey of bereavement.

The café is open as a free informal drop-in session on the second Friday of each month from 12.30 to 2.00pm.

The initiative has been supported by the District Council with funding of £425 to train five volunteers with specialist bereavement courses run by national charities Cruse and AtaLoss.

Cllr Bill Handley, Lead Cabinet Member for Communities for South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “Grieving the loss of a loved one is a deeply personal experience, yet it is one that many individuals face alone. Recognising the need to find solace in the storm with a safe and welcoming space where people can come together to share stories, find comfort, and receive support is vital. The District Council is pleased to support the Harbour Café with funding from our Community Chest grant scheme.”

Cambourne Church is a community church that began welcoming new residents in 2000 and currently has 93 members. Volunteers there set up the café in March to offer a safe space for people to meet and connect with others.

The Harbour is open to any adults who have experienced the death of someone close to them, whenever that may have been. It is free to attend, and people are welcome to drop in at any time during the café times. There is no need to book in advance.

It is open to residents living in Cambourne and beyond, to save having to travel into larger towns or Cambridge City to access the support they need. The aim is to offer support and signposting in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.

Cambourne Church is a partnership of the Church of England, the Baptist Union, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church.

Cllr Shrobona Bhattacharya, one of the local Members for Cambourne, said: “As Cambourne’s local councillor, I am delighted to witness the revitalisation of the café in the Cambourne Church, now transformed into the Harbour Bereavement Café. It's a place where people of all faiths, or none, can find solace, understanding, and the comforting presence of fellow travellers at a challenging time. I extend my heartfelt thanks to the dedicated volunteers and staff who have worked tirelessly to reopen this vital space, and I encourage everyone in our community to spread the word. The Harbour Bereavement Café stands ready to welcome you with open arms. Let us come together to support one another through life's highs and lows, knowing that here, in the heart of Cambourne Church, no one should feel alone.”

Cllr Helene Leeming, one of the local councillors for Cambourne, said: “Grieving is an intense and personal experience, which can leave people feeling isolated. I am so glad that the Harbour Bereavement Cafe has been launched to offer friendship, compassion and support for a community of people who may feel they need the understanding of people processing their own loss, in an environment facilitated by people trained to help. I am very pleased South Cambs District Council has helped  fund the training of volunteers to ensure that people receive this community support in a difficult time’.

Revd Bill Miller, Minister of Cambourne Church said: “As a church we want to be good news in our local community – what Jesus called salt and light. The Harbour Bereavement Café is a part of that, and we are so encouraged that people are finding it helpful.”

The Harbour Café details:

  • Fridays: 14 June, 12 July, 9 August, 13 September
  • 12.30 - 2.00pm. No need to book just turn up[
  • Free to attend. Includes light lunch and refreshments

More than £80,000 was given in Community Chest grants by the Council in 2023 to 54 voluntary and community sector groups, charities, and public sector bodies across South Cambridgeshire to help further improve the quality of life for residents. To find out more visit: Community Chest Grants - South Cambs District Council (