News from Voscur members: A Celebration of Life, new support services and Refutrees

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21 November, 2018


Voscur members have been busy throughout November, planning events, extending their services and getting in the Christmas spirit. Here’s a flavour of what they have been up to.

A Celebration of Life Memorial Service in its Eighth Year

The annual memorial service for people who sadly lost their lives to addiction will take place on 24 November from 4pm-5pm, at St. James Priory, for the eighth year running. Called A Celebration of Life, the service is a chance for bereaved friends and family to remember their loved ones and find support from others grieving a similar loss. It is organised by Bereavement Through Addiction (BTA) and Bristol Drugs Project (BDP), with music from the Gasworks Singers and the recovery choir Rising Voices, and is open to everyone.

BTA was founded by Joan Hollywood and Paul Craig in 2009, the year after losing their son, and it has supported many families who struggle with the circumstances and the social stigma that surround death by addiction. Meanwhile, BDP has offered free support and advice since 1986 for people using drugs and alcohol.

The Bridge Foundation Develops its Psychotherapy Services

The Bridge Foundation for Psychotherapy and the Arts has now refocused its services to cover children, adolescents, young adults and families, including support for parents and couples. Established as a charity in 1984 and based in Cotham, The Bridge Foundation works with a range of Bristol schools to offer brief interventions or longer-term treatment.   

Bristol citizens have a range of mental health needs, as highlighted in the latest Joint Strategic Needs Assessment report, published by Bristol City Council and the NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group. 40,400 people in Bristol (10% of the population) have a diagnosis of depression; at least 5,100 children aged 5–16 and 1,700 aged 16-17 live with a diagnosable mental health issue; up to 1,000 local women will develop mild or moderate perinatal depression each year.

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Brigstowe Extends its Support to People Living with Diabetes

Brigstowe Project, based in Easton, is known for supporting local people living with HIV, but the organisation is now widening its peer support to cover those with diabetes, too. Whilst HIV services will still be Brigstowe’s main focus, a peer support project for diabetics will help ensure Brigstowe is sustainable and can continue to serve the community.

Voscur supported Brigstowe to officially widen the charity’s remit, which involved changing the set of ‘objects’ that each charity must have in its governing documents. This meant discussing the change of wording in the objects, getting legal support (signposted through Voscur) for a special resolution, and contacting the Charities Commission. If you need help with a change of objects, contact Voscur today.

Aid Box Community Brings Back Refutrees for Christmas

Following a successful launch last year, Aid Box Community’s Refutrees Christmas initiative is back, with Christmas trees sold to raise money for refugees in need. The trees can be pre-ordered online now, or bought in person at the Aid Box Community Christmas Shop in Redland from 1-21 December.

Whether you fancy a 4ft or 7ft tree, or something in between, there are sizes to suit every home, and your tree can be delivered to your door. Lights and decorations are also on sale to complete the look, with the money raised going to help refugees and asylum seekers adjust to their new surroundings in Bristol and in Europe. The organisation runs a ‘free shop’ where new arrivals can pick up practical supplies, but also socialise and get advice. As they settle in, refugees and asylum seekers are helped to integrate into the community.

Are you a Voscur member with a news story to share, such as a successful event, award or campaign? Please email our Digital Marketing and Communications Officer, Polly Allen (, with a brief summary and any relevant images attached. We look forward to hearing from you.

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