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Weekdays 9am-9pm

Grief Encounter South West

About our Bristol Therapy Centre, the history, the team and the services available for the whole of the South West of England

sw centre door
grief encounter SouthWest

Centre Back ground

Grief Encounter South West was formerly known as The Rainbow Centre and had been helping families with grief for almost thirty years. The work that we do is very much the same, with many bereaved youngsters benefitting from a course of individual arts therapies.

The main addition is that the Grief Encounter model has helped us to focus on parallel Group therapy provision. The feedback from families is that coming together to share and understand each other has been very helpful. They also love that we are the only in-house provision of bereavement therapies in the area.

We have built a Grief Library in the Waiting Room and many parents find the informal conversations in there while their children are being seen, hugely supportive. We have families who come back to spend time in the building and make use of our library as it helps them stay in touch with us and with their journey.

What We Do

We provide free at the point of contact bereavement support for youngsters who have experienced bereavement in the South West area. Although our Centre is in a lovely peaceful area of South Bristol we can reach out via the internet all over the South West.

The initial process involves checking the suitability of referrals for our support and assessing the family members needs. There are various options available to you including:

  • A year of one to one arts therapy
  • Various forms of group provision
  • Reading and creative materials to help families process what has happened
  • Out of hours help or just some one there to listen, we have our national helpline
  • Therapeutic services to the public carried out by our specialist, caring, grief trained staff
  • School and local organisation visits to provide assemblies and specialist support and training around bereavement
  • You may hear us on the radio sometimes especially around consciousness and fund raising events and celebrity endorsements

If you need immediate support please call the grieftalk helpline on 0808 802 0111 or contact us for more advice or information.

Contact us

Client Story

The Centre is a sanctuary for many clients in Bristol and the surrounding areas who had nowhere to bring their grief prior to coming to us. One boy called Bertie was five when he first came and he drew himself in tears coming to our door in the rain for help. His Dad had died very suddenly and he needed help to cope with very big feelings of sadness and anger about it. He drew all the things he had loved with Daddy and missed, like having their favourite dinner of bangers and volcano mash at Granny’s. When Bertie finished his play therapy he didn’t want to go but he felt he could manage his feelings and also share them when he needed to.


The team is made up of very talented and dedicated professionals, who are the driving force behind this essential child bereavement charity.

Karmen Losey

Karmen Losey

Karmen Losey

Karmen Losey is Director of the South West Centre for Grief Encounter. As well as being a qualified Counsellor working with the adults, Karmen manages Centre staffing, and all clinical work including running the Grief Encounter therapeutic programme. Her background in Psychology and Family Therapy mean she works with the whole system to help them in their journey of adjustment to bereavement. In her time with Grief Encounter South West Karmen has grown the team and the output and built links to reach into schools, hospices, hospitals and the wider community to make support for bereaved youngsters more widely addressed, readily available and positively impacting their futures.

Chelsea Harding

Chelsea Harding

Fundraising Manager
Chelsea Harding

Chelsea Harding is the Fundraising Manager of the South West Centre for Grief Encounter. She has been a part of the team since December 2017, leading on relationships with all our key funders and major donors. From grant-making trusts to individual donors, Chelsea can often be found showing visitors around the Grief Encounter Centre in Bristol to show them first-hand how their donations make the difference. Chelsea works alongside our wonderful family of fundraisers within the community and large corporate teams, working together to raise awareness and vital funds. If you are interested in fundraising alone, with friends, family or colleagues please get in touch.

Helen Gazzard

Helen Gazzard

Lead Practitioner and Play Therapist
Helen Gazzard

Helen Gazzard is an experienced Play Therapist and PTUK Supervisor who has been working with Grief Encounter South West since it began. She comes from a background in working with Trauma and works with the overlap between bereavement and trauma. She uses creative and play methods to help young children not only begin to process bereavement but also build their strategies and safe management of feelings for life outside. Helen is now one of our Lead Practitioners and she engages the wider family and system in helping to rebuild safety and trust after loss.

Kay Locke

Centre Manager
Kay Locke

Kay Locke has taken over the job as Centre Manager and is often the first port of call for both families and professionals seeking to make contact and use our services. The email for the office directly comes through to her. Kay comes from a background in finance and adeptly helps us oversee the budget, the building, and the administration of all that we do. She works closely with our fundraisers and Ali our Volunteer Coordinator to support this valuable work. Call Kay for more about the charity, to offer help in any form, or to enquire about services and suitability.



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