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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 support from Grief Encounter South West, has been really helpful, particularly in the early days, the kids benefited considerably from spending time with other children in the same boat. Our daughter gained so much from her therapy, the self-harm stopped and she became more at ease, thank you for giving her that opportunity. It’s comforting to know that I can get in touch in the future if I feel I need to, you are a wonderful organisation and I am so grateful for everything you have done for us.”

This Bristol based family lived through the tragedy of their dad taking his own life and seriously struggled. Grief Encounter South West offered intensive therapy, workshops and groups to support their grief


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.

Maab's Story

“Maab was 7 when her family had to leave Iraq to try to save her brother Saif’s life. Sadly little Saif died, and Maab was completely cut off, in a foreign land, deep in grief. After several years play therapy and workshops with us, Maab has now started secondary school with a few special friends who understand and help her. Congratulations Maab, you are a star.”

Karmen Losey – Director of Grief Encounter South West



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