Phone and email
If you are in urgent need of someone to talk to, you can ring the national Sands helpline on 0808 164 3332.
The Helpline is for anyone who has been affected by the death of a baby and wants to talk to someone about their experience. The Helpline team are there to listen and give support, and can advise you about finding local help, whether from a Sands group or other counselling service, or information about other relevant support organisations.
Upcoming support meetings
For the latest information on meetings, please visit our facebook page
Meetings and events for bereaved parents
North & East London Sands is a support group run for bereaved parents, by bereaved parents.
We hold a range of events in north and east London including workshops and a non-denominational memorial service every December (for details see below).
We also have regular evening and daytime meetings. You don’t need to be a member of Sands to take part. And you’re welcome to come along to as many or as few meetings as you like. There is no charge, and no obligation to talk.
Monthly evening meetings (for all bereaved parents)
If your baby has died, you can feel very alone. Our informal monthly get-togethers give bereaved parents the chance to share their experiences and get mutual support.
Our evening support meetings will be held on the 4th Tuesday of every month from 7:00pm – 9:00pm at our new venue:
Nest Room, Lift Youth Hub, 45 White Lion St, London N1 9PW.
To minimise disruption for others – please try and arrive by 7:00pm.
Monthly daytime meetings (for bereaved mothers)
If your baby has died, it can be hard to cope with another pregnancy. Our monthly daytime meetings give you a safe space to discuss how you feel, and connect with others who are going through what you are.
We particularly welcome pregnant women, those who are thinking about having another child, and women with babies or pre-school children who may find it difficult to come to our evening meetings. (If you are bringing children, please bring a couple of small toys/books if you can.)
Monthly daytime meetings (for women who are pregnant again or thinking of having another baby, or who have young children and cannot come to the evening meetings) take place from 10.30-12.30 on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Walter Sickert Community Centre, Canonbury Crescent (off Essex Road), Islington, London N1 2FB.
Occasionally we need to change the date or location of meetings, so please check the website, Facebook, call or email us for up-to-date information.
Who are the groups for?
North and East London Sands support group meetings are for bereaved parents. Groups are facilitated by two bereaved parents who have undergone training as Befriender’s. The groups are not counselling or therapy groups but are designed to give mutual support to people who have suffered the loss of a baby or babies before, during or shortly after birth.
We have two groups which run monthly. The day group is held every second Tuesday of the month at the Walter Sickert Community Centre. At this group parents may be accompanied by children. The evening group is held every fourth Tuesday of the month at Nest Room, Lift Youth Hub, 45 White Lion St, London N1 9PW Children do not attend this group but, as is the case with the day group, pregnant again women may attend. Both groups last for two hours and are based in Islington. Further details are available – please email firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion in our monthly support group reminder email.
What to expect at a group
At the start of the group we will introduce ourselves. At this time people sometimes find it helpful to share their circumstances connected to the loss of their baby/babies. At no time during the group is anyone pressurised to talk, for some people just being in the group and listening to other peoples stories is a valuable experience in itself.
The group is a confidential space and we would ask people to always observe this by not discussing any of the information shared to people outside of the group. This helps to create a safe and trusting environment.
Everyone acknowledges that two hours goes quickly and to maximise time it would be useful if people could arrive on time for the group so we do not have to repeat introductions.
We also ask that people are respectful of each others views and decisions. People may have different religious or cultural beliefs and may have had to make choices in relation to their baby that you do not agree with. This is a space to listen and support one another and not a place to discriminate.
Sometimes people may become very emotional in the group, it is okay to cry in the group and it is okay to leave the room if you would like some time by yourself.
Sharing experiences can be very powerful and you may find that some of the information shared resonates deeply with your own situation. This can give you both additional support; by making connections with others and can also make you feel your own grief more acutely.
Overall the support groups are a space to share experiences, to be heard and to listen to others. We hope you find the groups as valuable as we have over the years.