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BIG LOTTERY TO FUND THREE YEAR PROJECT SUPPORTING BEREAVED FAMILIES FACING INQUESTS
14 January 2014
The Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund has agreed project funding of £500,000 over three years to support INQUEST’s specialist casework service and develop its work with bereaved families.
The funding will ensure INQUEST is able to continue its work assisting families bereaved by a death in state detention. This includes deaths in prison, in police custody and mental health settings. The funding will support INQUEST’s specialist casework assisting families through the inquest process and providing professional assistance to legal practitioners.
It will also fund a series of training initiatives, both for bereaved families to help them navigate the complex inquest process, and for professionals who work with them. Families will be assisted to improve their skills to better tackle the challenges they face, and be less isolated. Professionals working with them will gain a greater understanding of the needs of people bereaved by a death in custody and improve their engagement with them.
INQUEST recently undertook an evaluation of the impact of its services to families and found that the state of mind of 88% of families it worked during the aftermath of a bereavement was positively helped, with no family reporting a negative impact.
“We are delighted that the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund has agreed to support this vital work that is a lifeline for so many bereaved families. Providing funding for our project is a vote of confidence in our team and a positive endorsement that will enable us to continue our specialist work with families bereaved by a death in state detention.
‘I was already working with INQUEST, which is the organisation who monitor deaths in custody, and at one AGM I told the audience that what happened to these people [killed in police custody like Chistopher Alder, Roger Sylvester and many others] could happen to any of us. And then a couple of years later, I was standing in front of them again but now it had happened to my cousin. So my family and me were now “users” of Inquest. It shows you that none of us are immune – here am I, Benjamin Zephaniah, patron of INQUEST and client of INQUEST at the same time.’
– Benjamin Zephaniah