Bereavement Services Challenge

Looking for solutions to improve bereavement support services for communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19

What is the challenge?

Develop an accessible and culturally competent solution that enables more personalised bereavement guidance and support for Londoners from minority ethnic groups bereaved by, or during COVID-19. The solution should reflect local minority ethnic community history and culture.



End user co-development will determine specific geographic parameters; example locales in which minority ethnic communities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 are Newham, Brent and Hackney.

Who are the end users?

Initial end users for a pilot are Londoners from minority ethnic groups bereaved by COVID-19 or during the COVID-19 pandemic, requiring co-development of specific target end users within this segment, with the expectation that a solution can be expanded to incorporate other types of services and users in the future.

What impact are we seeking?


  • Londoners engage with a bereavement and grief support service based on their cultural background.
  • 50% of users engage with the platform to connect, share and provide peer support.
  • Overcome the complexity of the London eco-system of services
  • Enable more people who need additional support to access appropriate services earlier
  • Enable more people to receive informal support and find the information they need


  • Increased understanding of the role and power of cultural practices in responding to grief & bereavement.
  • Improved outcomes for Londoners from minority ethnic groups bereaved by COVID-19 or during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Platform can be cheaply maintained past the pilot stage, facilitating wider rollout to different segments within the
  • London-based ethnic minority communities and across different service areas of mental health support more widely

What will the Resilience Partner provide?

  • Access to Thrive LDN’s broad network of partnerships and community relationships, to arrange interviews / workshops with relevant community stakeholders during the ideation and development process.
  • Facilitation of co-development with community stakeholders, ensuring clarity regarding aims and expected outcomes throughout the development roadmap.
  • Provision of research insights and subject matter expertise to ensure momentum. 
  • Provision of existing campaign and programme materials, which may be relevant to the selected community / beneficiaries / solution.

What does good look like?


  • Led by user needs
  • Digitally enabled
  • Accessible and inclusive; easy-to-use and engage with
  • Sign-posts to specialist support for those experiencing complex grief/ related issues
  • Provides support to those who have additional grief related needs
  • Demonstrates impact to potential funders
  • Research-based, with input from an official psychology body such as the British Psychological Society or the Black and Asian
  • Counselling Psychologists Group
  • Links to the phase one of the developing GLA Covid-19 bereavement gap analysis (March/April 2021)



  • Adaptable to other groups (i.e. within Thrive LDN’s wider remit, or within minority ethnic communities)
  • Considers a broad range of grief and bereavement experiences

Background information

  • There were 15,804 deaths occurring in London between 1 March 2020 and 29 January 2021 that involved COVID-19, representing 27% of all deaths occurring over this period (57,921 deaths). (Source: ONS)
    Reviews have revealed that minority ethnic groups are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as those of white ethnicity.
  • Minority ethnic communities vary from 13% to 69% across London borough populations; with the worst affected by COVID-19 boroughs are home to many diverse and vibrant communities – e.g. Newham, Brent and Hackney.
  • COVID-19 will continue to have a major impact on the individual and societal experience of death, dying, and bereavement; the restrictions in place have prevented the usual cultural practices and responses to this.
  • Barriers to culturally competent bereavement support pre-exist the pandemic but have been exacerbated by the disproportionate COVID-19 mortality rate of Londoners from minority ethnic groups.

About the Resilience Partner

Thrive LDN is a citywide movement to ensure all Londoners have an equal opportunity to good mental health and wellbeing. Since March 2020, Thrive LDN has also been coordinating the public mental health response to COVID-19 in London.