East of England Co-op Funeral Services colleagues lend a hand at Norwich child bereavement charity

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Colleagues working at East of England Co-op Funeral Services branches in Norwich have helped to pack boxes which are gifted to children and young people who’ve been bereaved.


Funeral Co-ordinators, Natalie and Debbie, visited Nelson’s Journey, where they helped to fill the charity’s Smiles and Tears boxes. The boxes have been created by Nelson’s Journey’s youth panel, and have been funded with the help of a donation from the East of England Co-op Community Cares Fund. They contain items that help to comfort the recipient and typically consist of a mindfulness colouring book and pens, a fidget toy, and a positive thoughts jar, among other items.

Natalie, who works at East of England Co-op’s Bowthorpe Funeral branch, said: “Helping the team at Nelson’s Journey has been hugely rewarding – not only is it great to see what goes into the Smiles and Tears boxes, but we’ve listened to ideas from the team at the charity which will help us to better meet our own clients’ needs in the future”.

Debbie added: “It’s important for me to build strong relationships with my local community. Its always a pleasure to meet the people behind-the-scenes at the organisations we support”.

The Little Plumstead-based charity was awarded £1804 from the region’s largest independent retailer in September 2022 as part of their Community Cares Fund, which was used to fund 50 Smiles and Tears boxes. Initially launched in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the fund supports good causes across Norfolk, Suffolk and North-East Essex. In the past two years, the fund has donated more than £400,000 to great causes, helping more than 100,000 people of all ages across the society’s trading area.

Duncan Green, Child Bereavement Support Worker, said: “Young people can feel overlooked when everyone else is focussed on the funeral arrangements. The Smiles and Tears boxes make them aware that someone is thinking of them”.

52657456822_7a48ee8edf_w.jpg                                                                                                A Smiles and Tears box

You can read more about the Community Cares Fund here.