We held our first "wellbeing" members’ meeting in 2014 at the Sunley Conference Centre, University of Northampton.
After a series of previous meetings with guest speakers such as MPs, police, or representatives from government agencies (eg: FCO, NPIA), we thought it would be good to have someone who understands the emotional side of what has happened to us. Consequently, we were delighted to secure Dr. David Trickey, a Clinical Psychologist who specialises in traumatic bereavement, to be our Guest Speaker at this event.
David understands the problems families face following a homicide and explained in layman's terms, what happens to us, our minds and our bodies, after such a tragedy.
The key things we learnt from his session were:
It doesn’t “get better”
But it can get “less bad”
People don’t “get over it”
But people can learn to live “alongside it”
Things don’t “get back to normal”
But things can become stable, which becomes a “new normal”.
The programme also included a break-out session for young adult siblings. We have always felt that our families' young people might welcome the idea of having a couple of hours in the company of other siblings to talk over how the death of their brother or sister has affected them and the impact it has had on their lives.
This meeting was generously sponsored and subsidised by Hazel and Pete Kouzaris and their Charity Always A Chance. Always a Chance was set up by friends and family in loving memory of two best friends, James Kouzaris and James Cooper, after they were murdered in Florida, America, in April 2011. The aims of the Always a Chance charity are twofold:
- Help young people to avoid making the wrong choices in their lives
- Help organisations who support victims and their families trying to overcome the emotional impact of a violent attack or the sudden death of a loved one.
We are very grateful to Hazel and Pete and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Northampton who agreed to support our event by covering the cost of the hire of the venue for the day.
We think the focus on wellbeing was well-received by our members and we plan to extend this annual meeting to a two-day residential wellbeing conference next year.