When you think of bereavement, what do you think of? Despair? Loss? Grief? … a lot of pain?

Two years ago, a previous colleague who sits on the Board of Trustees of Cruse Scotland asked for my outside perspective on their website.  Since that initial meeting, my perception of the service has changed dramatically.   I’ve seen, read and heard first-hand how the charity gives people hope for the future, the difference it makes in so many people’s lives and even the small things we take for granted…like the ability to smile again.   Together we’re slowly bringing the stories of the 75% volunteer workforce, the staff, and most importantly, the people who rely on the service every day to the forefront of the Cruse Scotland brand.

On a personal note, I’m delighted we’ve been able to talk around more Cruse’s work with children.  Previously there’s been a stigma attached to bereavement that would have stopped us.   Now, however we can tell stories like Maisie’s, who’s dad died when she was seven, but with the help of her volunteer she said, ‘you’ve made me feel happier’.    I have young kids myself, so to me, this was very powerful, emotional, and I don’t mind telling you, I cried reading it.

I’ve helped to bring to life these real life stories through authentic, natural and emotive photography. Photography is critical as it gives you the ability to reflect how the brand has made people feel. And it can be unexpected.   To see these fantastic people smile, to even laugh again is not what you’d expect for a bereavement service.  Obviously, we need to be respectful to those who have just lost someone, but by telling these stories and featuring these people who have suffered too, let’s everyone know there is hope for the future.

My role has been, and is, to guide the Cruse Scotland brand to become more relatable to everyone who works with, supports, or uses the service daily. And I’m humbled by the work we’re doing.    We are close to launching a new website which combines the stories, the photography, the refined colour palette and refined new user experience.

What started with a few hours of observations has blossomed into supporting a service which is slowly beginning to reflect the tremendous work that the charity does every day.

We are all busy people, but unfortunately, we’ll all need a service like Cruse Scotland in our life to guide us through the hard times.  Luckily, we have a diverse group of skilled volunteers who aren’t always at the front line like me, and we always need more.