Youth Bereavement Cafe is launched online for Hertfordshire and West Essex

Emma Boys who has launched an online bereavement cafe for young people

Emma Boys who has launched an online bereavement cafe for young people - Credit: Archant

A teenager who lost her mum to illness has started an online Youth Bereavement Café (YBC).

A young woman who, as a teenager lost her mum to illness, has started an online Youth Bereavement Café.

The cafe (YBC) has been launched by St Clare Hospice, where Emma Boys’ mother died and where Emma volunteers.

The cafe was to have been real and launched in Harlow this month but now it has gone online to support young people in the lockdown.

The YBC is currently being run within a Facebook group, for people aged 18-30 to connect with others who may share similar experiences.

The hospice, based in Hastingwood, says the cafe will open as a face-toface service when it is safe to do so.

YBC is the brainchild of Emma, now aged 20 , who was supported by St Clare Hospice’s young person and children’s bereavement service when her mother died in September 2017 when Emma was aged 17.

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Now a St Clare Hospice’s volunteer, Emma said: “I’ve found grief to be quite isolating at times. When my mum had first died, I struggled to find other people my own age who’d experienced the death of someone close to them. So I’m excited to launch the YBC in the hope of connecting young bereaved people, so they can feel less alone while navigating their grief.

“Bereavement is already such a difficult experience to go through but with the added implications of coronavirus impacting both people’s mental wellbeing and ability

to connect with their usual support networks, the grieving process becomes all the more difficult.

“We felt that now, more than ever, it was so important to launch this form of support for young people who may really wish to reach out to others.”

Gemma Marks, another volunteer also working on the project, said: “When I lost my sister at age 26, unfortunately, there wasn’t this type of group for young people to meet others – which is why I am so passionate about YBC. We hope that the group can offer a friendly, online community.”

Gemma said the the Facebook platform was open for people to use however it suited them best.

“Whether it’s meeting and talking to others, recommending supportive resources that you’ve found useful, sharing your own experiences or simply reading about what others have shared. Each person grieves in their own way – and there is no right or wrong way to experience.”

To visit the YBC and to join, visit