The UK’s largest bereavement charity, Cruse Bereavement Care is celebrating after being awarded £498,000 in National Lottery funding to transform its digital services.

The new grant from the UK’s biggest funder of community activity will see the charity revolutionise the way it supports bereaved people online. The ‘Transforming Bereavement Support’ programme will see new personalised digital services being set up to support more bereaved people in a way that works for them.

Steven Wibberley, Chief Executive of Cruse Bereavement Care, said:

“We are delighted to have received this money from the National Lottery. The death of a loved one can be devastating and it is vital bereavement support is easily accessible for those who need it.

“The money will enable us to transform the way we support people online. It will help us to reach more bereaved people across the country through personalised support through new and existing digital channels. We will also be collaborating with organisations across the sector and will share our learnings to ensure better support for bereaved people.”

Alison Penny, Director of the Childhood Bereavement Network, said:

“The internet has changed our lives in ways we couldn’t have imagined twenty years ago: how we interact, how we shop, how we communicate. It’s no different when we are bereaved. More and more, we look online to get information, seek advice and reach out for support in our grief.

“The bereavement sector needs to respond to these changes, and anticipate future needs and wishes for accessing support online. This funding from the National Lottery Community Fund will help Cruse to look to the future for their own services and support the wider sector to think through the challenges and benefits of the digital age: working together to improve support for the next generations of bereaved people.”

John Knights, Senior Head of UK Portfolio at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“In a digital society, it’s important that charities and community organisations are not only able to adapt to be fit for the future but can harness the power of digital to identify new opportunities to improve services to support more people. Now, thanks to National Lottery players, these organisations can increase their digital capacity to have a greater impact in communities and support our sector to thrive in the digital age.”

The Digital Fund was developed through a series of one-to-one interviews and workshops, with the aim to help organisations grow their digital capabilities, particularly around their operations and service delivery. It builds on The National Lottery Community Fund’s previous experience of supporting the voluntary sector’s digital transition, which extends back over a decade.

In addition to the grant, Cruse Bereavement Care will benefit from being part of an ecosystem of support set up for Digital Fund grantees, made up of Doteveryone, CAST, Shift, Snook, The Dot Project, and a network of coaches and mentors. This support will range from help with recruitment and Board level engagement through to responsible tech practices, service design and data audits.

Grantees will also collectively document and share learning between themselves and the wider sector – a key aim for The National lottery Community Fund when setting up the Digital Fund.

Today’s announcement is also a key part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s commitment to enabling civil society to be fit for the future – supporting organisations and the voluntary sector to create opportunities to help local communities thrive.

To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk and www.cruse.org.uk.