SUFFERING the loss of a loved one at any time can be a devastating time, but during with restrictions in place during the pandemic it has been made all the harder.

Unable to have the funerals they would have wished for loved ones or even able to offer a comforting hug have made grief more complex in the past 12 months.

Now a bereavement charity is to set up a dedicated support group for relatives of those who have died from coronavirus.

Cruse Bereavement Care, Scotland’s leading bereavement charity, has been listening to those who have lost a loved one to covid and other illnesses throughout the pandemic.

Read more: Herald garden of remembrance plaque stolen by sick thieves on lockdown anniversary

However, the charity, which is helping to drive The Herald’s memorial garden project forward, recognised how difficult the grieving process has been for many during unprecedented times.

Fiona Arnott-Barron, chief operating officer of the charity and also a member of the memorial garden steering group, said the charity felt that now was the right time to offer a virtual support group to people.

“What we are experiencing is there is an extra lawyer with covid at the moment," said Mrs Arnott-Barron.

"Whether the death has been by covid or unrelated, this time has been difficult for people because of the daily challenges, from not being able to see family, limited visiting restrictions, they have all had an impact on people. Where there’s a shared experience through a bereavement or anything in life, people do often find it helpful meeting and talking about it and that’s why we looked at a support group.”

Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland has launched a dedicated support group

Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland has launched a dedicated support group

The charity recognised that these past 12 months have been different for people going through a bereavement.

Mrs Arnott-Barron added: “Some people feel there has been an unjust and we pick up a sense that families have found it difficult with restrictions in place when there is such a severity in the level of illness but these restrictions had to be in place for everyone’s safety.

“Going through a time of bereavement some of us prefer to speak to people where as others might want to be on their own. If you are all in a house due to lockdown that is ok for the person who wants others around but if you wanted to be alone it can be rather difficult because of the circumstances. Others might find they want to get back to work and perhaps have a time when they grieve at home, but for some that option just isn’t there with lockdown advice.”

Read more: Watch: Video tribute to those lost as memorial garden site is unveiled

Listening to and taking into account what their clients say led Cruse to consider the support group.

"I think this situation with covid brings a unique set of circumstances," added Mrs Arnott-Barron. "It was then that we realised we could bring people together through a virtual group which can reach people across Scotland. In the past you might have had physical groups set up in the places such as Glasgow, Edinburgh or Aberdeen, but because there is a need for it to be virtual, people from anywhere can join.

"It is about responding to a need and giving people the chance to share their experience and helping people to find a way through this. With peer experience people can begin to recognise that they are not alone."

Yellow ribbons with the names of people who have died place in Pollok Country Park are just one of the marks of respect. Photo Gordon Terris.

Yellow ribbons with the names of people who have died place in Pollok Country Park are just one of the marks of respect. Photo Gordon Terris.

Cruse is offering specialised online support groups to those affected by it. The groups will be held weekly, for a series of six weeks, providing a safe space to share your experiences and feelings, with others who have been bereaved in this unique way. If this is something of interest, or you just wish someone to talk with, contact their freephone telephone helpline 0808 802 6161, or access their webchat or email service via

The Herald is leading a campaign to create a memorial garden as a tribute to Scots who have lost their lives to coronavirus.

It will be located in the stunning grounds of Pollok Country Park after an offer was made by Glasgow City Council leaders to host the memorial.

As the site was unveiled earlier this week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon offered her support and the Scottish Government has pledged more than £16,000 to help us reach a milestone of £60,000 for a public fund.

Sadly just hours after it was unveiled, a dedication plaque was stolen from the site.

We recently revealed we were seeking to bring an artist on board to help with the engagement process and open up discussion on how the memorial could take shape.

To donate go to The Herald memorial garden go to herald-garden-of-remembrance. You can also send donations via post to The Herald Garden of Remembrance Campaign, Herald & Times, 125 Fullarton Drive, Glasgow, G32 8FG. Keep up to date with the latest news at