Home of Cuddle Therapy Ponies to open third Sue Ryder Grief Kind Space for Bedfordshire

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Keysoe Café is where the space will be hosted. (l-r) Frances Murray and Kaylea Jackson from Keysoe International with Sue Ryder Grief Kind Spaces Area Coordinator, Kerri Bicknell
Keysoe Café is where the space will be hosted. (l-r) Frances Murray and Kaylea Jackson from Keysoe International with Sue Ryder Grief Kind Spaces Area Coordinator, Kerri Bicknell. Image: Sue Ryder

Keysoe International, the home of Cuddle Therapy Ponies will now also be home to a Sue Ryder Grief Kind Space to help more local people access informal bereavement support and share their experiences of grief.

Grief Kind Spaces are weekly, in-person drop-in sessions held in the local community and run by trained volunteers. They provide a safe, informal, and supportive place for people to come together to feel heard and less alone as they learn to cope with loss.

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The latest Grief Kind Space will open at Keysoe International on Tuesday, 25 June. The equine centre already has a good relationship with Sue Ryder as part of its Cuddle Therapy Ponies initiative which has visited the nearby Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice.

Read: ‘Cuddle therapy’ ponies help bring joy to patients and staff at local hospice

The opening of the latest Grief Kind Space by the healthcare and bereavement charity follows the success of two already-established sessions in the county held at Milton Ernest Garden Centre and The Guinea Pub, Moggerhanger.

Between them they give local people varied times to access the service:

  • The Guinea Pub, Bedford Road, Moggerhanger, MK44 3RG on Wednesdays from 10am-midday.
  • Milton Ernest Garden Centre, Radwell Road, Milton Ernest, MK44 1SH on Thursdays from 10am-midday.
  • Keysoe International, Keysoe Café, Church Road, Keysoe, MK44 2JP on Tuesdays from 10am until midday

Kerri Bicknell, Grief Kind Space Coordinator, is thrilled to be opening more Grief Kind Spaces in Bedfordshire.

“Almost every home in the UK has or will experience the loss of someone, but Sue Ryder’s research* has found that 86% of people who had been bereaved said they felt alone in their grief,” she said.

“We have seen such an incredible impact from our Grief Kind Spaces in Milton Ernest and Moggerhanger, and while these sessions continue to grow, we are delighted to expand into a new area so that we can offer this service to even more people.

“Thank you to the team at Keysoe International for hosting our new session – with their support and that of our fantastic volunteers – we hope that more people will seek the chance to open up about their grief, helping them to feel heard and less alone.”

Mouse and Teddy are Cuddle Therapy Ponies. Image: Sue Ryder
Mouse and Teddy are Cuddle Therapy Ponies based at Keysoe International and recently visited the nearby Sue Ryder St. John’s Hospice. Image: Sue Ryder

Sarah Stoute, CEO at Keysoe International added, “Our mission is to improve the lives and well-being of people across the county so when we heard about Sue Ryder’s Grief Kind Spaces initiative, we knew it was something we wanted to be part of.

“We hope that the relaxed setting we can offer will mean more people who are grieving will feel comfortable seeking the support they need. We look forward to welcoming the Sue Ryder team and our community to Keysoe International later this month.”

You don’t have to register to access the Grief Kind Space, and can just turn up on the day.

Sue Ryder is also seeking new volunteers to support their new Grief Kind Space. To find out more about becoming a Grief Kind Space volunteer visit sueryder.org/GKVolunteer or email GriefKindSpaces@sueryder.org.